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NEA Big Read 2021: Yu Hua’s “To Live” Bilingual Book Discussion

March 10 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Join the Museum at Eldridge Street and Chatham Square Library in a bilingual book discussion about Yu Hua’s “To Live” (活着).

Please join the Museum at Eldridge Street and Chatham Square Library in a bilingual book discussion about Yu Hua’s celebrated contemporary classic To Live (活着). Although the book was originally banned in China when first published in 1992, To Live is now considered one of the country’s most influential books, with millions of copies in print. Reading excerpts in both it’s original Chinese text and translated English text will be Professors Mingwei Song (Wellesley College) and Michael Berry (UCLA). Professor Michael Berry was 22 and a senior at Rutgers University when he sent a fax to Yu Hua requesting permission to translate To Live into English in 2003. To this day he feels a great sense of gratitude to Yu Hua for entrusting his masterpiece to a young aspiring literary translator.

This program will be conducted in English and Mandarin Chinese.

From March 8 – March 18, Museum at Eldridge Street will be exploring Yu Hua’s To Live in a series of lectures, book discussions, and film screenings with partners from China Institute, Chatham Square Library of New York Public Library, and the Museum of the Moving Image. Learn more about the other programs by clicking here. Borrow a copy of the book To Live from the New York Public Library (English-Language E-Book) (English-Language Book) (Chinese-Language Book).

Michael Berry is Professor of Contemporary Chinese Cultural Studies and Director of the Center for Chinese Studies at UCLA. He is the author of numerous books on Chinese cinema and culture, including Speaking in Images: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers (2006) and A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film (2008). He has served as a film consultant and a juror for numerous film festivals, including the Golden Horse (Taiwan) and the Fresh Wave (Hong Kong). He is also the translator of several books by contemporary Chinese writers, including Wild Kids (2000), Nanjing 1937: A Love Story (2002), To Live (2004), The Song of Everlasting Sorrow (2008), Remains of Life (2017) and Wuhan Diary (2020).

Mingwei Song is Director of Chinese Programs at Wellesley College. He specializes in modern Chinese literature and intellectual history, film studies, science fiction, and youth culture. His research interests include modern Chinese literature and intellectual history from the late 19th century to the early 21st century, Chinese cinema, science fiction, and youth culture. Professor Song has published books and articles in both English and Chinese. His first monograph in English, titled Young China: National Rejuvenation and the Bildungsroman, 1900-1959, was published by Harvard University Asia Center (2015). A synthesis of narrative theory and cultural history, it combines historical investigations of the origin and development of the modern Chinese youth discourse with close analyses of the novelistic construction of the Chinese Bildungsroman, which depicts the psychological growth of youth with a symbolic allusion to national rejuvenation.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. The Museum at Eldridge Street is one of 78 not-for-profit organizations to receive a grant to host an NEA Big Read project between September 2019 and June 2020.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.