Posts tagged ‘northern girls’

December 5, 2012

Northern Girls nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize

I’m pleased to announce that Sheng Keyi’s Northern Girls has been nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize.

Congratulations, Sheng Keyi!


Time Out! Hong Kong’s coverage

April 14, 2012

First Batch…!

I picked up the first batch of copies of Northern Girls from the Penguin office this week.  I’m really excited to see them available in shops in mid-May.


March 19, 2012

Repost: Coming in mid-May

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.

Coming in Mid-May 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

I’m very pleased to announce that my translation of Sheng Keyi’s novel Northern Girls, published by Penguin Books, will be on sale in mid-May 2012.

The blurb from the back reads:

China in the late 1990s is hit by a wave of change.  Droves of young people are making the journey across the vast country to the nation’s new cities.

Abandoning her Hunan village in the wake of a family scandal, sixteen-year-old Qian Xiaohong heads for the glitz and glamour of Shenzhen — a place she believes will be the perfect antidote for a young woman seeking to flee a stifling rural community.  But Xiaohong swiftly discovers escape brings its own dangers, and the dual threat of vulnerability and violence, which hangs over the arrival of exuberant young migrants, is brought into stark focus.

Solace and salvation appear in the form of Xiaohong’s fellow migrants — the ‘northern girls,’ also drawn by the neon skyline from China’s hinterland.  Without a safety net of education or state welfare, they must band together or face being sucked into the moral maelstrom that development has unleashed.

In working on the translation, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the characters Sheng has created and the struggles they face.  It is an eye-opening book for those of us who have never known the types of difficulties Xiaohong and her friends face.  Anyone who has the luxury of taking survival for granted  should be reminded, in reading Northern Girls, that not everyone in the world lives with this luxury.  It often takes some finagling just to keep one’s head above water, and those of us who take survival for granted are often quick to look down on those who are cleverest when it comes to finding some way or another to get ahead.   Xiaohong’s story is one that will make many of us think twice before making those snap judgments about others who make their way through life by whatever means they can.  And Xiaohong herself is a reminder that there is often a code of ethics underlying the actions of others that may not be evident to those of us on the outside of the realities of their struggles.

But that’s the heavy side of Northern Girls.  It is, even in the course of addressing this real life situation that many migrant workers in China face, a very funny book.  Sheng Keyi’s use of language is very clever, and her humor comes with a real edge.  Qian Xiaohong has her own way of looking at life, and there are times when her means of expressing those views will make you laugh out loud.  Those who like to read while commuting on the train, be forewarned — you’ll need your best poker face to keep from embarrassing yourself in the rush hour crowds during the commute.  The book is sure to make even the stoniest-faced reader crack a grin, at the very least.

Part of what I love about Northern Girls is how it brings the indomitable nature of the Chinese mindset to the foreground.  For all the myth of inscrutability that the Chinese have been labeled with by many in the West, they are a quick-witted people who have a real awareness of the humorous side of life’s ironies.  They love to laugh, even in the face of a rather bleak situation, because after all, “Life Goes On” (as the book’s subtitle reminds us).  Northern Girls is awash with this particular aspect of the Chinese psyche.

I am looking forward to mid-May.  I am eager to hear feedback from English-speaking readers when the book is released.  I think the tale Sheng Keyi has woven together is one that will both surprise and delight English-speaking audiences.

© 2012 Shelly Bryant

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Friday, March 30, 2012 – 08:32 AM
Thanks, silken!  I’m excited about it.
Friday, March 30, 2012 – 08:40 PM
January 31, 2010

Repost: Hit (or Miss) List, Jan ’10

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.

Hit (or Miss) List, January ’10

Sunday, January 31, 2010

January was another good month for catching up on a lot of reading I’ve left dangling for a while.  I made a little more progress on my Fill in the Gaps list and on the books I hope to read this year.


Here’s what I’ve been reading and watching in January:



Hit List

  1. •    House of Many Ways (Diana Wynne Jones)
  2. •    2001 and 2010 (movies)
  3. •    The Return of the King (movie)
  4. •    Intrinsic Night (J. E. Stanley and Joshua Gage)
  5. •   The Book of Salt (Monique Truong)
  6. •    Dwarf Stars 2009 (Deborah P. Kolodji and Stephen M. Wilson, ed.)
  7. •    Attack of the Two-Headed Poetry Monster (Mark McLaughlin and Michael McCarty)
  8. •    Twigs & Knucklebones (Sarah Lindsay)
  9. •    The Rubiayat (Omar Khayyam)
  10. •    The Blind Side (movie)
  11. •    A Freed Woman’s Dance (Doris Cope)
  12. •    The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (Howard Pyle)
  13. •    Voices (Ursula LeGuin)
  14. •    Directed Verdict (Randy Singer)



Catching up on a couple of magazines:

Asia Literary Review, Elixir (back issues)

Star*Line, Scifaikuest, Not One of Us (most recent issue)



Miss List


No misses in January!



Neither Hit nor Miss


  1. •    Mental Fight (Ben Okri)
  2. •    Hum (Ann Lauterbach)





So, what have you been reading and watching this past month?





2 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
been keeping up w/ my list this month. am going to post it as soon as I add the screwtape letters!
Monday, February 1, 2010 – 11:03 AM
I’ve been by looking for yours.  I’ll stop by again soon.
Monday, February 1, 2010 – 01:15 PM
January 9, 2010

Repost: With an Agenda

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.

With an Agenda

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I don’t usually have a real agenda for my reading, unless there are certain texts assigned for work.  For the most part, I just make my way through my books (several at a time) as I feel like it.


Last year, I signed up over at the Fill in the Gaps blog to join other bloggers in reading 100 books by the end of 2015 (each reading his or her own list).  These books will be for the “gaps” between my regular reading schedule.  I like the idea, and so far have enjoyed the experience of sticking with a loose idea of things I’d like to finish reading in the near future, but without having a precise schedule for when to read each title.  I decided I might like to put together a list of things that I am wanting to read in 2010, focusing on books that are geared to help me become a better writer (specifically, a better writer of speculative poetry).


Some of the titles are on my Fill in the Gaps list.  I only put here those I plan to get to them this year, and of those that I intend to tackle in 2010, I only included those that are focused on helping make me a better speculative poet.


So, here are some of the things I aim to be reading over the next year.  (It looks like a lot, but remember that poetry collections are often very short volumes.)



Poetry Collections


Attack of the Two-Headed Poetry Monster – Mark McLaughlin and Michael McCarty

The Other Side of the Lens – G. O. Clark

Strange Vegetables – G. O. Clark

North Left of Earth – Bruce Boston

Double Vision – Bruce Boston

Sensuous Debris – Bruce Boston

Intrinsic Night – J. E. Stanley and Joshua Gage

Twigs and Knucklebones – Sarah Lindsay

Genesis, an epic poem – Frederick Turner

Renascence and Other Poems – Edna St. Vincent Millay

In the Yaddith Time – Ann K. Schwader

The Book of Styx – Eddy Styx

Barrow – Bryan Thao Warro

You Are Here and Other Poems – Gene Van Troyer

Ossuary – JoSelle Vanderhooft

Phantasmagoria and other poems – Lewis Carroll



Collections by the following poets (not yet sure which collection I’ll tackle for each)


Ray Bradbury

David Kopaska-Merkel

Wang Wei


W. B. Yeats

Franz Wright

T. S. Eliot






The Rhysling Anthology (upcoming)

Classic Haiku

Modern Japanese Tanka


….along with a big stack of back issues of various poetry magazines






Science and Poetry – Mary Midgley

The Practice of Poetry – Robin Behn

Poetics – Aristotle

Relativity – Albert Einstein

The Book of the Dead – E. A. Wallis, ed.

Simians, Cyborgs, and Women – Donna J. Haraway






Le Morte D’Arthur – Sir Thomas Malory

Looking Backward – Edward Bellamy

A Descent into the Maelstrom – Edgar Allan Poe


Shades of Grey – Jasper Fforde

Voices – Ursula LeGuin

The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights – James Knowles


….and something by George MacDonald and J Alan Erwine

(that’s two different works, not a collaboration — unless J has some skills in

necromancy that I don’t know about, in which case I will definitely read the





I’m very sure the list will be modified as I go, but for now, this is what I want to aim at for 2010.  It’ll be fun to look back next January and see how many changes have been made.





© 2010 Shelly Bryant

2 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
Your list will keep you busy, I think. I’m involved in the Booker Challenge this year, an attempt to read varying numbers of books that have won the prize. My first one will be “Wolf Hall” by Mantel. Maybe I’ll fill in a few gaps, too.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010 – 12:53 AM
I know some people who make sure to keep up with one prize list or another, as a way of making sure to keep the gaps filled.  I’ve never been very good about that.

I’m making some headway on my list already, having finished Intrinsic Night and Voices, and finishing Attack of the Two-Headed Poetry Monster soon.  I started Relativity this morning (and expect it to take me a while).

I think that my reading gets a little haphazard when I ravel so much.  I thought setting up a list that I intend to tackle would help keep me a little more disciplined.  We’ll see….

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 – 12:46 PM
January 4, 2010

Repost: Rhysling Eligible Poems (2010)

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.

Rhysling Eligible Poems, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

With Rhysling nominations open to SFPA members, I thought I would provide a list of my poems that were first published in 2009.

From Cyborg Chimera, a collection published by Sam’s Dot Publishing (poems unpublished before 2009)

Morpheus                                Merlin

A Nightmare’s Whisper           Bill Passed, a Fib

FreeFall                                  Conviction

In Exile                                    Dozer

Orion Out the Window            Watchdog 6.9.2

Unhand Me                            Cyborg Chimera

Avatar                                    Not Programmed That Way

Suffrage                                 Sphinx-Speak

Horrorscope                           Generic

The Sacred, the Savage        Double Helix

Censor Censure Censer        Gone Awry

Id                                            Insomniac

In Aoife’s Kiss

Colonizers (June 2009)

Under Pressure (June 2009)

Fortunes Told (June 2009)

A Note on Her Pillow (December 2009)

In Astropoetica

When the Seeing is Good (Autumn 2009)

In Contemporary Haibun Online

Project (March 2009)

Mr. Lincoln’s Program (June 2009)

In Cover of Darkness (poetry anthology)

Night Falls (May 2009)

In Expressions newsletter

Our Universe Expands (June 2009)

Each Particle Contains the Whole (October 2009)

in early autumn (November 2009)

Night Watch (December 2009)

Ambarvalia (December 2009)

In The Fifth Di…

Dreams of Elsewhere (March 2009)

In The Genesis Project

Visitation (2009)

Men of Renown (2009)

In The Martian Wave

Bypassed (June 2009)

In Mirror Dance

Cave Drawings (Autumn 2009)

Long Compton (Winter 2009)

In Motel 58

Chicago, 1893 (March 2009)

In His Images (March 2009)

In Not One of Us

electrodes hooked up (April 2009)

a bulleted list (October 2009)

In Scifaikuest

Manipulated (May 2009, online)

In Space, Lost (May 2009, print)

always pleased to serve (May 2009, print)

gods who frighten us (August 2009)

Organic Emissary’s Fib (August 2009)

Hide and Seek (August 2009)

beneath icy plains (August 2009)

non-binary codes (August 2009, online)

Harvest Moon (November 2009)

Juno’s Itinerary (November 2009)

elderberry wine (November 2009, online)

In Sloth Jockey

Pellinore’s Dive (Feb 2009)

Faultlines (May 2009)

In Spaceports & Spidersilk

mane proudly shaken (June 2009)

“Manipulated” is the only one that falls in the “long poem” category.  All the rest are below 50 lines.

I will be happy to email the full text of any of these poems to SFPA members upon request.  A few samples are available here.

My contact information:  shellybryant [at] yahoo [dot] com

January 1, 2010

Repost: Hit or Miss, Dec ’09

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


December was a good month for catching up on a lot of reading I’ve left dangling for a while.  I made a little progress on my Fill in the Gaps list, and read a number of other books for both work and leisure.  It was especially good to savour a number of poetry

collections over the past month, including my own newly releasedCyborg Chimera, which finally arrived here in Singapore.


Here’s what I’ve been reading and watching in December:



Hit List

  1. •    The Evidence of the Senses (Colin Tan)
  2. •    Curse of the Golden Flower (movie)
  3. •    A Cold Coming (Tony Harrison)
  4. •    Memoirs of a Geisha (movie)
  5. •    2004 Dwarf Stars (Deborah P. Kolodji, ed.)
  6. •    Blackbird (David Harrower)
  7. •    George & the Dragon (movie)
  8. •    Silas Marner (George Eliot)
  9. •    The Shack (William Paul Young)

my review is the second one at the linked site

  1. •    several essays & short stories by Washington Irving
  2. •    Anansi Boys (Neil Gaiman)

also a short blog entry at the Fill in the Gaps site

  1. •    The Haiku Handbook (William J. Higginson, with Penny Harter)
  2. •    Brighton Rock (Graham Greene)
  3. •   City of Life and Death (movie)
  4. •    Avatar (movie)
  5. •    Private Worlds:  A Revised Atlas (Scott E. Green)

watch Sloth Jockey for a review, coming soon

  1. •    Peninsular (Darren V. L. Shiau)
  2. •    The Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (movie)
  3. •    Ancient Skies (oino sakai)
  4. •    A Study in Emerald (Neil Gaiman)



Catching up on a couple of magazines:


Books & Culture, Asimov’s Science Fiction (back issues)

Star*Line, ExpatLit, The Taylor Trust (most recent issue)



Miss List


No misses in December!



Neither Hit nor Miss


  1. • The Gospel According to Judas (Jeffrey Archer)

watch Sloth Jockey for a review, coming soon





So, what have you been reading and watching this past month?





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you got lots done!
Saturday, January 9, 2010 – 05:11 AM
Yeah, I’ve been trying to get caught up on some things.  I’m now trying to get just a little ahead, as I figure next month might not be one that has a lot of reading time.  You know how it is when guests come…
(Not that I’m complaining!!!)
Saturday, January 9, 2010 – 03:02 PM