In this conversation, Michael Juliani and Bonnie Huie discuss Huie’s new translation of Qiu Miaojin’s Notes of a Crocodile, a coming-of- age novel about a group of queer friends in late 80’s, post-martial-law Taipei, recently released in May 2017 by NYRB Classics.
Michael Juliani: You said it took a long time to get Notes of a Crocodile into print. I’m wondering if you could describe how you arrived at translating it.
Bonnie Huie: I got into translation on a fluke. It was me not putting two things together in my mind. I studied Chinese in college. I used to do more of my own writing, and I showed it to someone from Taiwan who had her first poetry collection published by a very nice indie publisher and she said, “I would love to have an English translation of my book.” And I said, “Sure, I’ll do it.” And as a gift, she gave me books by Qiu Miaojin.