Enfant terrible or voice of a generation? Western readers will have a chance to better know China's most popular young writer Han Han when a selection of his works are published in English translation next year. (Photo/CFP)
Han Han, China's most popular blogger and author, is to see his works published in the United States next year, according to an article by Evan Osnos in the New Yorker.
Osnos said Simon and Schuster plans to release a volume of Han Han's essays and blog posts in English in fall of 2012, followed by a novel.
Han Han's works in China include Triple Door (1999), Like a Speeding Youth (2002), Riot in Chang'an City (2004) and most recently the immensely popular 1988: I Want to Talk with the World (2010).
Han Han is fast becoming a phenomenon outside China, even though little of his work has been translated for foreign readers. The New Yorker published a profile of the writer earlier this month, calling him "a youth culture idol," while the New York Times has enlisted him to write editorials for the paper over the coming months.
Both a writer and a racing car driver, the 28-year-old Han Han has an audience at home of nearly 300 million, many of whom are of the younger generation. His popularity much to the way he speaks for so many who are currently unable to articulate and express themselves, according to an article published on the website Publishing Perspective.
According to the article, Han Han plays with the authorities, making sharp points to needle them and subtle jokes to trip them up, in a way that the vast majority of the population would like to do themselves. He also works in various forms of contemporary media that allow different access to his work. He is not just a blogger, for which he is best-known in the west, but also works through magazines, music, essays, short stories and action.
In the western media he is known mostly for his blogging, which suits a popular image in the west of the "basement rebel" battling through the Great Firewall of China against the Party. In fact, Han Han did not start blogging until 2005 and it was his first novel, Triple Gates, as yet still unpublished outside China, which first brought him to the public eye at the age of 18.
In novels such as Like a Speeding Youth and An Ideal City, Han Han speaks of the pointless rules, venal officials, ineffective education and welfare and the journeys of wasted and lost lives in modern China.
To some, Han Han may seem no more than the enfant terrible of China, to others he is the spokesman of a generation. The reality is more that the vast majority of people who make up the general readership in China are just starting to search for their own individuality, and Han Han provides a strong and clear voice expressing the absurd truths about the place in which they live.
Han Han 韓寒
Triple Door 三重門
Like a Speeding Youth 像少年啦飛馳
Riot in Chang'an City 一座城池
1988: I Want to Talk with the World 1988：我想和這個世界談談