Notre Dame’s direct link to Nobel Literature Prize

Author: Jane Morrow

Howard Goldblatt Howard Goldblatt

Chinese author Mo Yan has become the first Chinese author ever to win the Nobel Prize in literature, and his works were made known in the Western world because of Howard Goldblatt, foremost translator of contemporary Chinese literature and former research professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Notre Dame.

Goldblatt has dedicated years to introducing most of Mo’s works to the English-speaking world, and has compared Mo’s work to Charles Dickens, as “big, bold works with florid, imagistic, powerful writing and strong moral core.”

In a recent interview with China Daily, Goldblatt says he was attracted to Mo’s work because “it was so innovative, moving back and forth in time. I was drawn to the language, the depth of characterization and to the whole sense of life in his work.”

A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2002, Goldblatt was awarded the 2009 Man Asian Literary Prize for his translation of “The Boat to Redemption” by Chinese author Su Tong, as well as the inaugural 2007 Man Asian Literary Prize for his translation of “Wolf Totem” by Chinese author Jiang Rong.

He is a recipient of two translation fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and has published English translations of more than 40 works by writers from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. His translation of “Notes of a Desolate Man” by Taiwanese novelist Chu T’ien-wen won the 1999 Translation of the Year award by the American Translators Association.

Goldblatt also is former director of Notre Dame’s Center for Asian Studies, one of the projects funded by the Liu Family Endowment for Excellence in Support of Asian Studies and Asian-American Students. The Liu family also endowed Notre Dame’s new Institute for Asia and Asian Studies.

Contact: Howard Goldblatt,