SOAS University of London

About SOAS

Professor Howard Goldblatt

Professor Howard Goldblatt is a scholar and translator of modern and contemporary Chinese literature. He has worked tirelessly to promote Sinophone literature, both from Mainland China and from Taiwan, to global audiences. Professor Goldblatt’s translations have been used as standard texts for teaching at SOAS for many decades.

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Professor Howard Goldblatt, Honorary Doctorate, 2014 Graduation

Professor Goldblatt gained wide international fame in 2012 as the English-language translator for Nobel laureate Mo Yan. The Chinese novelist, however, is only one of three dozen writers from China and Taiwan whose work he has translated. Among the published works, one earned the Translation of the Year award given by the American Literary Translators Association, three won the prestigious Man Asian Award, and another won the inaugural Newman Prize.

In addition to translating, Professor Goldblatt is the author or editor of several books and numerous articles dealing with modern Chinese literature and culture, and was the founding editor of the scholarly journal Modern Chinese Literature. The scholar’s work has been shortlisted for a number of prizes, and has garnered for him two grants from the Taiwan-based CCK Foundation and two from the US National Endowment for the Arts. In 2009 he became a Guggenheim Foundation fellow.

A native of California, Professor Goldblatt taught for 12 years at San Francisco State University, with breaks as Visiting Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and Berkeley campuses, before moving to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he and his wife now live. They both retired from academia in 2013 after an 11 year stint at the University of Notre Dame, where he directed the Center for Asian Studies.

Now that he has retired—as an academic, but not as a translator— Professor Goldblatt has devoted some of his time to a two-volume collection of articles, essays, and reviews written in Chinese and a memoir of his half-century relationship with Taiwan, where he learned Chinese. He speaks frequently at university and cultural institutions in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Europe, and the US, and has promised his wife to slow down at some future date.