Award-Winning Work: Dr. Will Gatherer's Literary Impact

12 March 2024

Dr. Will Gatherer, a Lecturer in Chinese Translation and Interpretation at the UQ School of Languages and Cultures, has received a prestigious award from the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association.

Will Gatherer with author Ma Yuan

His book, ‘Ma Yuan: The Chinese Avant-Garde, Metafiction, and Post-Postmodernism,’ has been recognized as a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title for 2023, a significant achievement in academic literature.

Dr. Gatherer's journey to this recognition is nothing short of inspiring and has been fuelled by his dedication to understanding contemporary Chinese literature.

"This book was the culmination of a long admiration for the extremely innovative and influential author Ma Yuan," he said.

Spanning continents and decades, Dr. Gatherer's work aims to shed light on the brilliance of Ma Yuan's literary works, offering invaluable insights into the broader landscape of Chinese literature.

Expressing gratitude for the award, Dr. Gatherer hopes it will lead to greater recognition of Ma Yuan's contributions.

His aspirations extend beyond personal success, aiming for wider appreciation of Chinese literature across cultures.

Dr. Gatherer's research goes beyond conventional boundaries, reshaping how we understand Chinese avant-garde literature.

"Whilst there has been a lot of attention paid to Chinese Avant-Garde literature more broadly, I noticed that the vast majority of Ma Yuan’s works had received no scholarly attention at all and that there were significant gaps created by this approach," he said.

Despite challenges in accessing Ma Yuan's works, Dr. Gatherer's commitment propelled his research forward.

"The other main challenge of this book was gaining access to the author himself, given that for the last 10 years, the author has been living in one of the most remote parts of China."

Ma Yuan's residence in Nannuoshan

The impact of Dr. Gatherer's work extends beyond academia, fostering cross-cultural understanding and appreciation through the translation and analysis of non-English literature.

"Having spent years trying to decode the meanings behind Ma Yuan’s often highly complex narratives, it was inspirational to hear the author himself connect with his works on such a beautifully poetic level," he said.

Looking ahead, Dr. Gatherer plans to delve into the "post-postmodern" in Chinese literature with his upcoming monograph, offering insights into contemporary Chinese literary expression.

With his upcoming monograph, “The Chinese Post-postmodern in Literature: Anxiety in the Anthropocene,” he seeks to unravel the complexities of contemporary Chinese literary expression, offering profound insights into the zeitgeist of the current era.