On Wednesday, February 26th, writer and translator Mike Fu spoke with a group of students from the East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALAC) department and the MA in Regional Studies – East Asia (MARSEA) program about his process of translating Stories of the Sahara by Sanmao.
Born in Chongqing in 1943 and raised in Taiwan during an era in which few women traveled alone or even left the country, Sanmao made the world her home by traveling to several countries and learning multiple languages, before settling in the Spanish Sahara. Her writings from this time, best described as part travelogue, part memoir, had far-reaching influence in China and Taiwan, and Sanmao remains an icon today.
Fu’s translation of her collected writings Stories of the Sahara marks its introduction into the anglophone world. Over lunch at Columbia’s Faculty House, Fu talked about the immediate captivation he felt reading Sanmao many years ago, and how he has tried to depict the lyricism and playfulness of her language in English. He also answered students’ questions about navigating non-traditional paths to publishing their own books, and his potential future literary projects.
Click here to read WEAI’s Q&A with Fu.