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Contemporary China Through Literature: Characters and Translation

Meet the Author
Partner events
Friday 8 March 2024, 14:00 - 17:00 (talk 14:00-15:00, workshop 15:00-17:00)
Open to
All (University of Leeds students and staff, general public)
Advance registration is closed but you are welcome to sign up at the door.

This event, jointly hosted by the Leeds Business Confucius Institute and the Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing, will combine a presentation by multi-award-winning Chinese novelist Lu Min 鲁敏, with an interactive two-way translation workshop, facilitated by world-leading translators from Chinese into English and English into Chinese, alongside the author herself.

This afternoon programme is part of a three-week author residency organised by the Confucius Institute at Oxford Brookes University. The author will attend Oxford Literary Festival and major publishing events as well as engage with school and university students and the general public to discuss topics relating to translation, publishing and Chinese culture.

We are delighted to host this event during the Leeds University Union World Unite Festival, which celebrates the diversity of Leeds with events offering differing perspectives on topics relevant to internationalisation.

Advance registration for this event has now closed, but you are welcome to come along and sign up on the door. 

Information for attendees

1:30pm – registration and refreshments
2:00pm – author talk (in Chinese with English translation)
2:45pm – break
3:00pm – translation workshop
4:45pm – event close

There will be tea, coffee, juice, water and biscuits. We will provide some cardboard cups but please do bring your own cup if you have one to save resources.
Some books will be available to buy at the event. Please bring cash if you may be interested in making a purchase.
Please bring a laptop or pen and paper if you are taking part in the workshop.


Event details

Registration and refreshments (1:30-2:00pm)

Author talk (2:00-2:45pm)

In the presentation multi-award-winning Chinese novelist Lu Min will explore different sides of contemporary Chinese society through four characters from her novels.

The four characters represent four aspects of contemporary China: the unemployed ‘failure’ (from Dinner for Six); the successful small business owner (Golden River); the Kunqu Opera performer (Golden River); and an unnamed young girl (featured in the novella Peut-être qu'il s'est passé quelque chose, tr. Duzan and Zhang [2024], not yet available in English).

The presentation will be in Chinese with English translation.

Break and networking (2:45-3:00pm)

Translation workshop (3:00-4:45pm)

The translation workshop led by Nicky Harman and Helen Wang (the translators of Lu Min’s Dinner for Six, among many other works), and with Prof Zhu Zhenwu (the director of the Foreign Literature Research Center at Shanghai Normal University and translator of Dan Brown’s novels into Chinese)

About the author (Lu Min 鲁敏)

Multi-award-winning Chinese novelist Lu Min was born in 1973 in Jiangsu Province to a teacher mother and engineer father and has been writing since she was 25. She won the prestigious Lu Xun Literary prize in 2009 and has received many other significant literary honours.

Lu Min’s novels, which have been translated into multiple languages, include Multiple Love Letters, The Steering Wheel, and This Love Could Not be Delivered. Her 2022 novel, Dinner for Six, is the story of two single parents, their four teenaged children and their socially mismatched relationships, with themes of family life, growing up and lonely individuals coming together against the odds.

The reality of family life in China is rarely as we might imagine it. Relations and interactions are fraught with very familiar concerns - partners, children, neighbours - yet seen through Lu Min’s probing lens we see Chinese social relationships in all their ordinariness and also their peculiar uniqueness.

- Paul French, New York Times bestselling author of Midnight in Peking and City of Devils.

Her latest novel, Golden River (Yilin Press, 2022) is being translated by Nicky Harman and Jack Hargreaves and forthcoming 2024.

Translated works


Golden River《金色河流》(Yilin, 2022) is being translated by Nicky Harman and Jack Hargreaves (forthcoming, 2024)
Dinner for Six (六人晚餐), Balastier Press, 2022, translated by Nicky Harman and Helen Wang
This Love Could Not Be Delivered (此情无法投递), Simon and Schuster, 2016


Scissors, Shining (风月剪), 2019, translated by Michael Day

Short stories

Xie Bomao R.I.P. (谢伯茂之死), 2012, translated by Helen Wang

Hidden Diseases (暗疾), 2011, translated by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen

Paradise Temple (西天寺), 2012, translated by Brendan O'Kane

Song of Parting (离歌), 2020, translated by Michael Day

The Banquet (大宴), 2018, translated by Michael Day

Chinese language lecture outline




  • 九十年代的产业转型期与世纪之交的快速发展
  • 时代向上抛出命运的硬币,落地时的几种可能。
  • 我与国营大厂的一些回忆
  • 中国式晚餐


  • 改革开放四十五年与每个人的命运息息相关
  • 最具代表性的地域与人群
  • 商业社会与被误解的有钱人


  • 个体的隔阂、靠近与相互取暖
  • 金钱与成功学中,人们不停地交换位置


  • 从六百年历史的昆曲艺术看中国人的艺术消费图景


  • 越来越多元繁华的当代生活中,孤独与秘密的自我


  • 我的夜校
  • 七零后一代,在场者与见证人