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Online reading and discussion: A personal glimpse of life in China's Lockdown: Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City

Dec 09, 2021 | 07:00 PM - 08:00 PM

Hosted by the Confucius Institute Heidelberg, this event is presented within the framework of the Joint Center’s Pandemic Readings Series as part of the project "Epochal Life Worlds: Man, Nature and Technology in Narratives of Crisis and Change".

Pandemics and Dystopias - Contemporary Literary Voices from China and the Sinophone World

A personal glimpse of life in China's Lockdown: Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City

Sara Landa and Michael Kahn-Ackermann in conversation.
Reading: Johanna Withalm

The diary of the renowned Chinese writer Fang FANG, written in blog format in the wake of the Wuhan lockdown, is a unique contemporary document about the struggle against an invisible enemy, which the people of Wuhan were the first in the world to wage at the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic. On January 25, 2020, two days after a city of 9 million people was completely sealed off from the outside world for the first time in history, Fang begins writing a diary online. Locked in her apartment, she chronicles the onset and progression of a virus-triggered crisis, from the panic during the first days of the Covid 19 epidemic to its successful containment. It tells of the loneliness, the suffering of the sick, the relatives of the deceased and the growing solidarity among neighbors. Sara Landa (CATS) will speak with the diary's German translator and longtime cultural mediator Michael Kahn-Ackermann about selected entries and the challenges of translating a non-literary collection of entries and thoughts.



Michael Kahn-Ackermann studied Sinology at the LMU Munich and in Beijing. He was the founding director of the Goethe-Institut Beijing, which he also directed from 2007 to 2011 after stations in Moscow and Rome. Kahn-Ackermann lives in Nanjing and has translated numerous works of contemporary Chinese literature into German, most recently Fang Fang's novel 软埋 Ruan mai (2021), which was nominated for the 2021 International Prize for Literature.

Sara Kathrin Landa is a member of the Center for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS) research group "Worldmaking in a Global Context: a Dialogue with China" working on "Environmental, Political and Aesthetic Crises and Transformations: Challenges of Literary Representation between Socialism and Postsocialism (ca. 1965-1995)-a Transcultural Perspective". During the summer semester, the Center initiated a reading project that explored pandemic literature from a variety of historical, geographical, and cultural contexts: the "Pandemic Readings."


About the author:

Fang FANG, born in 1955, is one of China's best-known writers. She has lived in Wuhan since the age of two. Fang FANG has published a variety of novels, short stories and essays. Her stories often focus on the poor and deprived. In 2016, she published the critically acclaimed novel 软埋 Ruan mai, for which she received the Lu Yao Prize. In Germany, the novel was published this year under the title Soft Burial.

Online event in German language. Please find all relevant information on the event here [in German].