Sunday, 11 March 2012

Pre-animate in Chinese

The patter of little feet and the putting to bed of a new book has kept me away from blogging for a while but, ah, so much to catch up on...

One noteworthy event in the Flanagan household last year was the publication in Chinese of Pre-animate, that masterwork guide to animation by Karen McCann, the mistress of the house. Rubbing my hands in glee at the prospect of royalties rolling in from a potential market of 1.5 billion readers, I was even more dazzled by the means by which this book came about.

Karen has a friend from her days as a lecturer in computer animation in Hong Kong called Louisa Wei, herself a professor and film producer. (Louisa was already the recipient of my eternal gratitude for once sending me from Shanghai a heavy metal bust of my literary hero, Lu Xun, which now proudly adorns the mantlepiece in my home in England.) But this time round, without any prompting, Louisa took it into her head to get a Chinese version of Pre-animate published and wrote to a publisher in Hong Kong. They politely declined offering some reason about not being sure about how well it would sell or how suitable it would be for a Chinese audience. It's the type of brush-off you get all the time from publishers and if anyone else but Louisa Wei had received this letter, they would have just taken it with a shrug and moved on.

But Louisa Wei is an extraordinary woman. She then wrote back to the publishers, doggedly dismissed their arguments and urged them to reconsider. Amazingly, the publishers then wrote back and said, 'OK, we'll do it!' The next thing you know Louisa, who was heavily pregnant, translated the whole book in her spare time and saw it through to publication just about the same time as her waters were breaking.

When the Chinese edition dropped onto our doormat in England, I marvelled that anyone could be so lucky to have such a one-woman whirlwind acting on their behalf.

Meanwhile, for anyone interested in reading Pre-animate in English, you can find it here.

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