A shape-shifting trickster on a kung-fu quest for eternal life, Monkey King is the unforgettable protagonist of Journey to the West, one of China’s four great classic novels. Join us as China historian Julia Lovell, who recently translated the text for Penguin Classics, talks about her experience bringing the story to life for modern readers, and the mischievous hero at its center, that gives us an important window into Chinese culture.
Julia Lovell is Professor of Modern China at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is the author of Maoism: A Global History, which won the 2019 Cundill History Prize, and The Opium War, which won the 2012 Jan Michalski Prize. Her many translations of modern Chinese fiction into English include The Real Story of Ah Q and Other Tales of China and an abridged version of Journey to the West, both for Penguin Classics. She writes about China for several newspapers, including The Guardian, Financial Times, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.