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The History of the Adventures of Vivi and Vera by Dung Kai-cheung

The History of the Adventures of Vivi and Vera
Written by Dung Kai-cheung under the Inspiration of the Ancient Chinese Treatise Celestial Creations and the Works of Man

Author
Dung Kai-cheung 董啟章
translated by Yau Wai-ping

Product details
Paperback, 508 Pages
Publication date June 2018
ISBN 978-988-16047-6-7

Award-winning author Dung Kai-cheung weaves together two inventive narratives in this remarkable book. One is the story of a novelist who recounts his family’s history against the backdrop of Hong Kong’s development from the 1930s to the 1990s. Dung builds this story through vignettes about the protagonist’s relationship with technological inventions that shaped his life, as glimpsed through his uncertain memory and family myths. Running parallel to this is a rebellion by the novelist’s oppressed fictional characters, who attempt to break the yoke of servile obedience laid upon them by the conventions of novel-writing. The central character, Vivi, has been written into being by the author and, once created, she seems to take on a life of her own and moves from being fabricated to being real, even bravely undertaking the journey to meet her creator—the novelist—in the real world. Fantasy and realism combine to suggest that crossing boundaries is inherent part of our nature.

Praise for The History of the Adventures of Vivi and Vera

“Dung Kai-cheung is the most important writer of contemporary Hong Kong. Since the end of the last century, his work has constituted an alternative history of Hong Kong: the city’s splendor and dilemma, its fantastic metamorphoses and uncanny fate. The History of the Adventures of Vivi and Vera represents Dung at his best. The novel chronicles the changes and continuities of Hong Kong in the final decades of colonial rule, and projects a futuristic vision in which postcolonial nostalgia meets postmodernist fantasia, and family romance begets science fantasy. Above all, Dung seeks to inscribe Hong Kong as fiction, and celebrate the power of creativity that is Hong Kong.”

David Der-wei Wang, Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature at Harvard University

“Dung Kai-cheung is Hong Kong’s most prolific and innovative contemporary novelist. His work is at once playful and challenging, brilliant and imaginative, and filled with a sense of mystery and discovery. The first volume in Dung’s acclaimed ‘Natural History’ trilogy, The History of the Adventures of Vivi and Vera is nothing short of a qishu, or ‘book of wonder.’ Freely navigating different times and spaces, people and objects, autobiographies and fictions, Dung Kai-cheung has written a new allegory for our troubled times.”

Michael Berry, Professor of Contemporary Chinese Cultural Studies at UCLA, author of Speaking in Images and A History of Pain

Dung Kai-cheung (董啟章) was born in Hong Kong in 1967 and received his B.A. and M.Phil. in comparative literature from the University of Hong Kong. He is the author of more than twenty books in Chinese, mainly fiction. He has won numerous literary awards, including the Unitas Fiction Writing Award for New Writers, the United Daily News Literary Award for the Novel, the Award for Best Artist (Literary Arts) in 2007/2008 from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, and Author of the Year of the Hong Kong Book Fair in 2014. His first work translated into English, Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City, won the Best Translated Work Award at the Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Awards (2013). An English translation of his work, Cantonese Love Stories, was published last year by Penguin China.

Yau Wai-ping is Associate Professor of Translation at Hong Kong Baptist University. In addition to translations of Chinese fiction and poetry, he has published widely on Chinese cinema, including works on Wong Kar-wai and Pema Tseden.

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Creating Across Cultures by Michelle Vosper

This collection of profiles celebrates the artistic achievements of sixteen visionary women from a region of surprisingly diverse cultures despite their geographical proximity. From literary figures like Nieh Hualing and dance icons like Yang Meiqi, to bold contemporary artists Yin Xiuzhen and Lulu Hou, their creativity covers a wide range of literary, visual and performing arts. These courageous women often had to defy cultural expectations in order to heed their artistic drive. Their artworks delve into the social realities of their times, and their personal stories provide an intimate portrait of the historical trajectory of Greater China over three generations. Written by journalists and scholars with deep knowledge of the arts in Asia, and richly illustrated with images of art and historical events, the collection reveals the vibrance of women’s art in the region.

The profiled artists:

NIEH HUALING, born in Wuhan, China, is the author of more than two dozen books of fiction, critical essays and English translations. In 1967, along with her husband Paul Engle, she established the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, which was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.

聶華苓,小說作家,被華人尊稱為「文壇國寶」。她於1967年在愛荷華大學與當時健在的丈夫保羅·安格爾共同創辦了「國際寫作計劃」。

LIAO WEN is an arts writer, critic and curator, whose unerring eye for emerging artists and trends helped to shape Chinese contemporary art. She curated one of the earliest exhibitions of Chinese women’s contemporary art (in 1995) and introduced a pioneering Chinese look at feminism in art with her book No More Nice Girls (2002).

廖雯,藝術作家與評論家,北京宋莊東籬藝術中心創辦人及策展人。1995年,廖雯策劃了中國第一批女性藝術展,2002年出版《不再有好女孩》,以前沿的中國視覺觀察70年代美國女性主義藝術。

CANDACE CHONG is a prolific, award-winning Hong Kong playwright, whose timely plays have captured the essence of the sui generis Hong Kong identity. Written in Cantonese, her works have resonated deeply with a new generation of theatergoers in Hong Kong.

莊梅岩,香港年輕一代最有成就的劇作家,她的作品關注當代社會敏感的社會和政治問題,引起年輕戲劇觀眾深深的共鳴。她新近的劇作《杜老誌》由毛俊輝執導,在香港獲得好評。

YIN XIUZHEN is a leading contemporary artist in China whose installations have been exhibited in major museums across the world. Using recycled materials, she explores issues of globalization and seeks to preserve a memory of disappearing lifestyles resulting from excessive urbanization and development.

尹秀珍,來自北京的國際知名藝術家,她的作品曾在世界各地的主要博物館展出。她使用回收材料探討全球化和過度城市化所帶來的問題。

CHOI YAN CHI is an installation artist, painter, educator and cultural advocate, who has helped to build contemporary art in Hong Kong for more than thirty years. She was a pioneer of new art forms, from installation to cross-media performance, and founded one of the city’s first independent art spaces.

蔡仞姿,裝置與概念藝術家,在香港當代藝術三十多年發展中發揮了至關重要的作用。她是新藝術形式的先驅──從裝置、跨媒體表演到創立香港第一個獨立藝術空間1a space。

LULU HOU is a conceptual artist, scholar and educator, whose works raise awareness about the realities of marginalized people in Taiwan society. In recent years she has expanded her portfolio to include the preservation of architectural and cultural heritage in southern Taiwan.

侯淑姿,觀念攝影藝術家,她為台灣的女性主義藝術的代表性藝術家,早年作品關注男性凝視下的女性自覺與性別意識,近年深入探討亞洲新娘與高雄眷村等邊緣議題,發人深思。

JAFFA LAM is a Hong Kong artist who specializes in the creation of large-scale, site-specific works, mixed-media sculptures and installations, usually made with salvaged materials such as crate wood, old furniture and recycled fabric. Lam’s art involves and reflects strong elements of community, connection and collaborative processes.

林嵐,香港藝術家,她的作品關注社區聯繫與公共合作。擅長製作大型混合媒介雕塑作品及裝置,採用的主要為回收再用的物料。

YANG LINA is an award-winning filmmaker based in Beijing. A pioneer among contemporary Chinese directors, her unflinching documentaries have illuminated the plights of China’s marginalized, including women, children and the elderly.

楊荔納,屢獲殊榮的電影導演,其果敢的紀錄片聚焦中國邊緣群體,包括婦女、兒童和老人的困境。她的第一部長片《春夢》榮獲2013年香港國際電影節特別關注獎。

BUN-CHING LAM is one of a growing number of Chinese women composers who are active on the international stage. A daughter of Macau, she is a passionate student of Chinese art, literature and aesthetics. Lam’s music is beyond East or West, dissolving boundaries to become an art that is truly representative of today’s interconnected world.

林品晶,少數登上國際舞台的女作曲家之一。生於澳門,她打破疆界的創作風格真實地體現了緊密聯繫的當今世界。

WANG XINXIN is a master performer of the musical genre called Nanguan. Originally from Fujian, she founded the Xinxin Nanguan Ensemble in Taipei in 2003 and performs traditional repertoire as well as contemporary adaptations of Chinese poetry and Buddhist sutra.

王心心,南管音樂大師,該音樂流派可追溯至兩千多年前。作為現在台灣音樂的代表人物,王心心演繹傳統作品以及中國詩歌和佛經的現代改編,保存了此藝術形式的精髓。

TIAN MANSHA is a master performer of chuanju (Sichuan opera) and a creator, teacher and director of xiqu, or traditional Chinese opera forms. Her repertoire includes classical pieces, Shakespeare adaptations, contemporary commissions and avant-garde xiqu works.

田蔓莎,川劇表演大師,也是將傳統藝術形式與現代實驗劇場結合的先驅。她的代表作《馬克白夫人》和《死水微瀾》在世界多地巡演。

WU NA is a virtuoso performer and teacher of the guqin, an ancient stringed instrument that dates back nearly 3,000 years. Her personal and musical mission is to create a contemporary voice for the guqin, one that has relevance in today’s China and beyond, while still preserving the instrument’s core spiritual and aesthetic values.

巫娜,古琴演奏家,她的曲目從三千年前的古曲到與搖滾、爵士音樂家合作的實驗作品。

YANG MEIQI, a renowned dance artist and educator, established China’s first modern dance troupe, the Guangdong Modern Dance Company, in 1992. Yang, who has been called the “Mother of Modern Dance in China,” nurtured the first and second generations of modern dance choreographers in China and is the leading force behind modern dance education.

楊美琦,中國第一個現代舞團即廣東實驗現代舞團的創始人,培養了兩代現代舞蹈編舞家。她是推廣中國大學舞蹈教育的領導力量。

PISUI CIYO is an award-winning choreographer, performer and educator born into the Atayal tribe in Taiwan. Her works of multimedia dance theater combine traditional indigenous art forms with Flamenco and modern performance art to create an expression of the contemporary indigenous artist.

碧斯蔚·梓佑,出生在台灣泰雅族部落的屢獲殊榮的編舞家。她的多媒體舞劇作品將本土藝術形式與現代表演相結合,為當代本土藝術家發聲。

MUI CHEUK YIN, a modern dance choreographer based in Hong Kong, is one of the leading dance-makers in East Asia today. She performed as principal dancer with the Hong Kong Dance Company for a decade and has created more than fifty works for ensembles in Asia, Europe and North America.

梅卓燕,亞洲首屈一指的後現代編舞家之一。她為亞洲、歐洲和北美的舞蹈團創作了超過50個作品,包括2000年由皮娜·鮑什委約編創的《花落知多少》。

WEN HUI is a choreographer, actor, documentary filmmaker and founder of Living Dance Studio, which became China’s first independent dance theater collective in 1994. She has choreographed more than twenty groundbreaking multimedia productions that have toured the world.

文慧,中國第一位後現代編舞家,於1994年創立「舞蹈工作室」。她的編創跨越不同藝術領域,影片《聽三奶奶講過去的事情》在2015年威尼斯雙年展上亮相。

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The Kite Family by Hon Lai-chu

A patient escapes from an asylum to spend his life as the perfect mannequin in a store display; a luckless man transforms himself into a chair so people can, literally, sit on him; after living alone is outlawed, a woman who resides quietly with her cat is assigned a role in an artificial “family.” These are just a few of the inhabitants of Hon Lai-chu’s stories, where surreal characters struggle to carve out space for freedom and individuality in an absurd world. The Chinese version of The Kite Family won the New Writer’s Novella first prize from Taiwan’s Unitas Literary Association, was selected as one of the Top 10 Chinese Novels Worldwide, and was awarded a Translation Grant from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts.

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Snow and Shadow by Dorothy Tse

Long-listed for the University of Rochester's Best Translated Book Award 2015

Dorothy Tse’s stories often start on a note of innocence, but an abrupt twist invariably brings us up short: dreamscapes descend and the pages become populated with ever-weirder characters. Strange occurrences are juxtaposed in ways that confound logical expectations. These stories are not for the faint-hearted—violence and sensuality abound. Limbs, even heads, are lopped off with regularity. Yet scenes can be so outrageous that we find ourselves laughing. Tse’s bold narrative experiments leave us alternately beguiled and deeply unsettled.

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