News & Features

Professor's Translation Receives High Accolades

A Fontbonne professor's recently published translation is making waves in the United States. Fontbonne English professor Jason Sommer and former Fontbonne instructor Hongling Zhang spent two years translating popular Chinese author Tie Ning's "The Bathing Women" into English. The book was just named to the longlist for the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize and, most recently, was reviewed by The New Yorker, available on newsstands now (Books Briefly Noted, "The Bathing Women, December 17, 2012, p. 81). Published this fall, the translation is the first of Ning’s novels to debut in the English language.

The Man Asian Literary Prize, founded in 2007, is an award given to the best novel by an Asian writer, either written in English or translated into English. A winner, chosen from the longlist, will be awarded in March.

Tie Ning, a popular Chinese novelist, is the first woman and youngest writer to serve as president of the Chinese Writer's Association. “The Bathing Women” has sold over one million copies in China.  

Sommer has published three books of poetry: “Lifting the Stone,” “Other People’s Troubles” and “The Man Who Sleeps in My Office.” He holds degrees from Brandeis, Stanford and St. Louis University, where he received a PhD in Modern British Literature, and he has taught at Fontbonne since 1985. His first Chinese to English translation, “Wang in Love and Bondage: Three Novellas,” also with Hongling Zhang, was published by the State University of New York Press in 2007.

Zang holds a Chinese law degree, as well as a master's degree in creative writing from Washington University. She previously taught creative writing at Fontbonne, and currently serves as the director of the Chinese language program in the school district of Clayton, MO. She is the author of published short stories, and is in the process of completing a novel.

Learn more about studying English at Fontbonne.