Podcast with Jin Feng, author of “The Transpacific Flow: Creative Writing Programs in China”

Hua-ling Nieh and Paul Engle (via OSU MCLC Resource Center): instrumental in the development of the Writing Programs at the University of Iowa Hua-ling Nieh and Paul Engle (via OSU MCLC Resource Center): instrumental in the development of the Writing Programs at the University of Iowa

In 2009, Fudan University launched China’s first MFA program in creative writing, spurring a wave of such programs in Chinese universities. Many of these programs’ founding members point to the Iowa Writers Workshop and, specifically, its International Writers Program, which invited dozens of Mainland Chinese writers to take part between 1979 and 2019, as their inspiration.

 

 

The Transpacific Flow: Creative Writing Programs in China, Jin Feng (Columbia University Press, Association for Asian Studies, June 2024)
The Transpacific Flow: Creative Writing Programs in China, Jin Feng (Columbia University Press, Association for Asian Studies, June 2024)

In her book, The Transpacific Flow: Creative Writing Programs in China, Jin Feng explores why Chinese authors took part in the US programs, and how they tried to implement its teaching methods in mainland China–clearly, a very different political and cultural environment.

In this interview, Jin and I talk about the Iowa Writers Workshop, the Chinese authors that attended, and the surprising links between US and Chinese academia.

Jin Feng is Professor of Chinese and Japanese and the Orville and Mary Patterson Routt Professor of Literature at Grinnell College, USA. She has published four English monographs: The New Woman in Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Fiction (Purdue University Press, 2004), The Making of a Family Saga (SUNY Press, 2009), Romancing the Internet: Producing and Consuming Chinese Web Romance (Brill, 2013), and Tasting Paradise on Earth: Jiangnan Foodways (University of Washington Press, 2019), three Chinese books such as A Book for Foodies and numerous articles in both English and Chinese.


Nicholas Gordon has an MPhil from Oxford in International Relations and a BA from Harvard. He is a writer, editor and occasional radio host based in Hong Kong.