Nicky Harman

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Nicky Harman is a UK-based prize-winning literary translator, working from Chinese to English.

Life and career[edit]

Nicky Harman taught on the MSc in Translation at Imperial College London until 2011, and has been a full-time literary translator since then. She focuses on fiction, poetry and occasionally literary non-fiction, by authors such as Chen Xiwo, Han Dong, Hong Ying, Dorothy Tse, Xinran, Yan Geling and Zhang Ling. She has been a contributor to the literary magazines Chutzpah, and Words Without Borders, and also organizes translation-focused events, mentors new translators and was one of the judges for the Harvill Secker Young Translators Prize 2012, and for the White Rose Centre Leeds University Chinese-to-English Translation Prize, 2015 and 2016. She is also a contributor to the website Paper Republic,[1] and founded the China Fiction Book Club in 2010.[2] She is currently Co-Chair of the Translators' Association of the Society of Authors.[3] From June 2015-June 2016, she, along with Eric Abrahamsen, Dave Haysom and Helen Wang, is running the READ PAPER REPUBLIC [4] project, posting and promoting a free-to-view short story every week for a year.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Longlisted for the FT/Oppenheimer Funds Emerging Voices Awards 2016, with Xu Xiaobin's Crystal Wedding.[5]
  • Winner of the Mao Tai Cup People's Literature Chinese-English translation prize 2015. Link here: [in Chinese][6]
  • Longlisted for the 2015 Best Translated Book Award Fiction BTBA Longlist, with Dorothy Tse's Snow and Shadow.[7]
  • Winner of first prize in the 2013 China International Translation Contest, Chinese-to-English section, with Jia Pingwa’s "Backflow River" (贾平凹: 《倒流河》)[8][9]
  • Won a PEN Translation Fund Award (2006) for her translation of Banished! by Han Dong, which was subsequently long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2008.[10]



  • Chan Koon-chung: The Unbearable Dreamworld of Champa the Driver (2014)
  • Han Dong: Banished! (2009)
  • Hong Ying: K – The Art of Love (2002)
  • Xu Xiaobin: Crystal Wedding,[11] Balestier Press, (2016) (awarded a PEN Translates grant)
  • Yan Geling: Flowers of Nanjing (2012)
  • Zhang Ling: Gold Mountain Blues (2012)
  • Yan Ge: The Chilli Bean Paste Clan,[12] Balestier Press, (2018) (English PEN Translates Award)

Collections of short stories[edit]

  • Chen Xiwo: The Book of Sins (2014)
  • Dorothy Tse: Snow and Shadow (2014)

Short stories and novellas[edit]

  • Bai Hua: The Eye of the Eagle
  • Anni Baobei: Goodbye to Anne (2012)
  • Chen Xiwo: The Man with the Knife (2012)
  • Ding Liying: Family Secrets (2012)
  • Han Dong: A Tabby-Cat’s Tale (2014)
  • Han Dong: This Moron is Dead (2012)
  • Jia Pingwa: Backflow River (2016)
  • Sun Yisheng: The Stone Ox that Grazed (2014)
  • Sun Yisheng: Dad, Your Name is Bao Tian (2013)
  • Sun Yisheng: The Shades who Periscope through Flowers to the Sky (2012)
  • Dorothy Tse: Woman Fish (2013)[13]
  • Dorothy Tse: January:Bridges,[14] READ PAPER REPUBLIC.[15] The translation and editing of this story is discussed and illustrated here: Free Word Centre.[16]
  • Xu Zechen: Throwing Out the Baby (2012)
  • Xue Mo: Old Man Xinjiang (2012)[17]
  • Yan Ge: White Horse (2014)[18]
  • Yan Ge: Sissy Zhong,[19] READ PAPER REPUBLIC[20]

Collections of poetry[edit]

  • A Loud Noise, poems by Han Dong (2014)
  • A Phone Call from Dalian: Selected Poems by Han Dong (2012)


  • Xu Zhiyuan: Paper Tiger,[21] essays, co-translated with Michelle Deeter, Head of Zeus, (2015) (awarded a PEN Translates grant).
  • Cao Jinqing: China Along the Yellow River (2004)
  • Deng Yingtao: A New Development Model and China’s Future (2014)
  • Leung Man-tao: Urban Control and the Modernist City (2013)
  • Xinran: Message from Unknown Chinese Mothers (2010)
  • Xinran: China Witness (2008) - co-translator with Esther Tyldesley and Julia Lovell


External links[edit]