So, really briefly, I was getting a degree in political science at the University of Regina, got kicked out because I was staying up all night chatting on IRC and not going to class, worked at a slaughterhouse, went back to school, and headed off more academic sanctions by going to China for a semester. While I was there, I read Sidney Shapiro's translation of Outlaws of the Marsh and started to get curious about Chinese literature and translation in general. I went back to school, switched my major to Chinese, transferred to the University of British Columbia, learned to read again under the tutelage of Professor Christopher Rea, then went to live in China for the next several years, bouncing between the Far South, the Far North, and the Near West. I managed to get an official job doing translation for Kingsoft during that time and I was doing freelance technical translation work, and I managed to get some short stories published, too, so I decided, you know, put the two pursuits together...
I got the commission to translate my first novel, Dong Xi's Record of Regret, after nearly a decade of asking Jonathan Stalling at the University of Oklahoma Press to give me a job. I had moved to Tokyo by that time and mostly given up on literary translation. The translation was done in the middle of the night, smoking cigarettes out on my balcony, typing on an unreliable Acer laptop, while I was still working a string of day jobs that included bouncer/bartender in Roppongi, pizza maker in Otsuka, and barista in Minato.
Currently, I'm working with Nicky Harman on a translation of Qinqiang for AmazonCrossing, which should be out in 2020. I've been writing about and translating Jia Pingwa since I came across his work around 2006 or 2007, so this is an important project for me. It's also allowed me to meet Jia Pingwa several times, most recently on a trip with Nicky Harman to Shaanxi.
I spend a lot of time writing and thinking about Jia Pingwa's 1990s novels, Chu T'ien-wen, and radical politics online (right wing populism and Left Maoism). More generally, I'm interested in contemporary literature, urban politics, the Chinese New Left, fashion, organized crime, and rap music.
Please email me.
Some of what I've translated:
- Vessel, a translation of Pinang《皮囊》by Cai Chongda 蔡崇达 (forthcoming from HarperCollins, July 2021).
- Shaanxi Opera, a translation of Qinqiang《秦腔》by Jia Pingwa 贾平凹, for Chinese Literature Today (6:1, 29-37) (excerpt), Ugly Stone (excerpt), and, a translation of the complete novel with Nicky Harman (forthcoming from AmazonCrossing, 2021).
- "Drinking" by Jia Pingwa (ricepaper, 2017).
- Record of Regret, a translation of Houhuilu《后悔录》by Dong Xi 东西 (University of Oklahoma Press, 2017).
- Life without Language, a translation of Meiyou Yuyan de Shenghuo《没有语言的生活》by Dong Xi (Chinese Literature Today, 6:2, 76-90, 2017).
- "The Stylistic Genes and Spiritual Pedigree of Dong Xi’s Fiction," by Hao Liang (Chinese Literature Today, 6:2, 91-94).
- "Reckless Writing Is the Best Writing: An Interview with Dong Xi" (Chinese Literature Today, 6:2, 64-75).
- "Why Don't I Have a Mistress?" by Dong Xi (Chinese Literature Today, 4:2, 28-41).
- "What’s Going Wrong with Chinese Literature in Translation?" Radii, October 2020.
- "China’s Dirty Web," SupChina, November 2019.
- "Jia Pingwa's Hometown," Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel, October 2019.
- "'Broken Wings': Jia Pingwa’s Controversial Novel Explores Human Trafficking And Rural China," SupChina, July 2019.
- "Socialist Literature for the Capitalist Era: Empires of Dust by Jiang Zilong," Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel, May 2019.
- "Entering Qin: a few days with Jia Pingwa in Shaanxi," Paper Republic, 2019.
- "China’s Intellectual Dark Web And Its Most Active Fanatic," SupChina, April 2019.
- "Police and Thieves: Liang Xiaosheng’s untranslated masterwork Floating City," Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel, August 2018.
- "Jordan Peterson and China's 'White Left'," SupChina, April 2018.
- "Ghosts of the Eastern Capital: Trawling Chinese Bookstores in Tokyo," Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel, August 2018.
- "Black cell: Life in a Chinese detention centre," the Anthill, 2016.
- "Chinese Cigarettes and Three Moments from or Related to Guangzhou and the Act of Running Away from Commitments and Everyday Life (2013 and 2014)," Loreli, 2016.
- Interview with Dylan Levi King, Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast.
- Record of Regret: An Interview with Dylan Levi King, Chinese Literature Podcast.
- "Introducing: Dylan Levi King, Pt. 2," Loreli, 2016.