Michael Berry’s areas of research include modern and contemporary Chinese literature, Chinese cinema, popular culture in modern China, and literary translation. Berry’s approach is transnational and his work addresses the richness and diversity of Chinese art and culture as it has manifested itself in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other Sinophone communities. After earning a PhD in East Asian Languages & Cultures at Columbia University, Berry taught at UCSB for 13 years before joining UCLA in 2016. He is the Director of the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies. He also holds an affiliate appointment with the UCLA Department of Film, Television and Digital Media.
Michael Berry is the author of A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film, which explores literary and cinematic representations of atrocity in twentieth century China, Speaking in Images: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers a collection of dialogues with contemporary Chinese filmmakers including Hou Hsiao-hsien, Zhang Yimou, Stanley Kwan, and Jia Zhangke, and the monograph, Jia Zhang-ke’s Hometown Trilogy, which offers extended analysis of the films Xiao Wu, Platform, and Unknown Pleasures. He is the author of a full-length interview books with award-winning film director Hou Hsiao-hsien, Boiling the Sea: Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Memories of Shadows and Light (in Chinese), and An Accented Cinema: Jia Zhangke on Jia Zhangke, a volume of conversations with Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke. He is the editor of The Musha Incident: A Reader in Taiwanese History and Culture and the co-editor of Divided Lenses: Screen Memories of War in East Asia and Modernism Revisited: Pai Hsien-yung and the Taiwan Literary Modernism Movement.
Berry recently completed a full-length book manuscript tentatively entitled “Translation and the Virus,” which explores the intersection between COVID-19, Sino-US relations, and disinformation campaigns through the lens of Wuhan Diary by Fang Fang. He is also working on a monograph that explores the United States as it has been imagined through Chinese film, from 1949-present. Other projects include a book-length collection of interview with pioneer of Chinese queer cinema, Cui Zi’en and a collection of conversations with leading Chinese writers, including Gao Xingjian, Zhang Ling, Wang Anyi, Yan Lianke, Ha Jin, and Kenneth Pai.
Also an active literary translator, Berry has translated several important contemporary Chinese novels by Yu Hua, Ye Zhaoyan, and Chang Ta-chun. His co-translation with Susan Chan Egan of Wang Anyi’s Song of Everlasting Sorrow was awarded Honorable Mention for the 2009 MLA Lois Roth Award for an outstanding translation of a literary work. In 2016, his translation of To Live was selected for the NEA’s “The Big Read” program. His translation of Wu He’s (Dancing Crane) award winning novel Remains of Life (Yu sheng), a fascinating literary exploration of the 1930 Musha Incident, was honored with a NEA Translation Fellowship and shortlisted for the Best Translated Books Award (BTBA). In February of 2020, at the very start of the COVID-19 outbreak, Berry began to translate Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City by Wuhan-based writer Fang Fang. The book was one of the earliest accounts of the unfolding global crisis; while targeted by nationalist trolls, the diary was widely reviewed by international media outlets and honored with numerous awards. Current literary translation projects include the modern martial arts novel The Last Swallow of Autumn (Xia yin) by Wenyi Chang, and the novel Soft Burial by Fang Fang, for which Berry was awarded a second NEA Translation Fellowship in 2021.
In addition to his academic writing, Berry extends the scope of his work through various media consultant positions, popular writings and jury service. He has frequently been featured in various mainstream media outlets in the US and China, including NPR, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the China Daily, and The People’s Daily. He is a contributor to the ChinaFile and his popular essays in Chinese have been published in the weekly Friday supplement of The Beijing News. He has served as a jury member for the Golden Horse Film Festival (2010, 2018), Fresh Wave Film Festival (2012), Los Angeles International Culture Film Festival (2017, 2019) and the Dream of the Red Chamber Literary Award (2012, 2014, 2016, 2018).
His work has received generous support from a variety of organizations, including the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, The Weatherhead Foundation, the China Times Cultural Foundation, and the National Endowment of the Arts.
Selected Media Appearances:
- Jia Zhangke on Jia Zhangke (in Chinese). (Guangxi Normal University Press, 2021; Duke University Press, 2021).
- Boiling the Sea: Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Memories of Shadows and Light (in Chinese). (Taipei, INK, 2014; Guangxi Normal University Press, 2015).
- Jia Zhang-ke’s Hometown Trilogy (British Film Institute & Palgrave Macmillan, 2009; Simplified Chinese edition, Guangxi Normal University Press, 2010).
- A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film (Columbia University Press, 2008).
- Speaking in Images: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers (Columbia University Press, 2005; Traditional Chinese edition, Rye Field 2007; Simplified Chinese Edition, Guangxi Normal University Press 2008).
Book Length Translations:
- Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City. By Fang Fang. Translated by Michael Berry (HarperVia, 2020).
- The Remains of Lifeby Wu He. Translated by Michael Berry (Columbia University Press, 2017).
- The Song of Everlasting Sorrow: A Novel of Shanghai, by Wang Anyi, translated by Michael Berry and Susan Chan Egan, with an Afterword by Michael Berry (Columbia University Press 2008).
- To Live by Yu Hua, Translated and with an afterword by Michael Berry (Anchor Books, 2003).
- Nanjing 1937: A Love Storyby Ye Zhaoyan, Translated with an introduction by Michael Berry (Columbia, 2002, Faber & Faber, 2003, Anchor Books, 2004).
- Wild Kids: Two Novels about Growing Upby Chang Ta-chun, Translated with an introduction by Michael Berry (Columbia University Press, 2000).
- The Musha Incident: A Reader in History and Culture. (in Chinese). Edited by Michael Berry. Rye Field, 2020.
- Divided Lenses: Screen Memories of War in East AsiaEdited by Michael Berry and Chiho Sawada. University of Hawaii Press, 2016.
- Modernism Revisited: Pai Hsien-yung and the Taiwan Literary Modernism Movement. (In Chinese) Edited by Michael Berry and Chien-hsin Tsai. Rye Field, 2015.
Selected Articles, Reviews & Entries
- “1939, October 15 Nanjing: Ah Long’s Lost Fictional Account of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre” and “April 1985: Of Roots and Earth” in Harvard New Literary History of Modern China, (Chinese edition). Rye Field, 2021.
- “Post-Martial Law Fiction in Taiwan” Online video lecture commissioned for Modern Chinese Literature and Culture’s Video Lecture Series. https://u.osu.edu/mclc/log-in/
- “Legend of the Mountain (1979): Rediscovering King Hu’s Land of Wayward Ghosts” in Yeh, David, Lin, eds. 33 Takes on Taiwan Cinema. University of Michigan Press, 2021.
- “I Translated ‘Wuhan Diary’ to amplify the author’s voice of courage” Washington Post op-ed feature, 2020.
- “Romancing Atrocity: Ye Zhaoyan’s Nanjing 1937: A Love Story” in Chinese Literature Today. July, 2020.
- “Liminal Cinema: PRC Film Genres of the New Era” in The Chinese Cinema Book. Bloomsbury, 2020.
- “Once Upon a Time in Shanghai” in Once Upon a Time in Shanghai. (Introduction to a photo book by Mark Parascandola. Daylight Books, 2019.
- “Response to ‘Taiwan Studies and the World’” in International Journal of Taiwan Studies,
- “From Fenyang to the World: Positioning Jia Zhangke” (Video Essay) in Jia Zhangke Box Set, Arrow Films, 2018.
- “Romancing Atrocity” in Southern Cultural Forum (Nanfang wentan), issue 6, 2016.
- “Taiwan Fiction in the Post-Martial Law Era” in the Columbia Companion of Modern Chinese Literature.Columbia University Press, 2016.
- “1939, October 15 Nanjing: Ah Long’s Lost Fictional Account of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre” and April 1985: Of Roots and Earth in Harvard New Literary History of Modern China, Harvard University Press, forthcoming, 2016.
- “Shooting the Enemy” and “Divided Lenses: Introduction” in Divided Lenses: Film and War Memory in East Asia University of Hawaii Press, 2016.
- “A Cultural Renaissance from the Ashes: Kenneth Pai on the Origins of Modern Literature,”“Shadows of a Lonely Flower: Kenneth Pai and Tsao Jui-yuan on Literary Adaptation” and “Crystal Boys, Desolate Men, and Ghosts: Kenneth Pai and the Development of Taiwan Queer Writing” in Modernism Revisited: Pai Hsien-yung and Taiwan Literary Modernism (Chongfan xiandai: Bai Xianyong, Xiandai wenxue, xiandaizhuyi). Rye Field, 2015.*
- “Imperialist Limbos: Chen Chieh-jen’s Empire’s Borders and the Deconstruction of the American Dream” in National Jinan University Journal of Literature, 2015.
- “Hou Hsiao-hsien” and “Jia Zhangke” in Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography, Vol. 4Berkshire Publishing/Oxford University Press, 2015.
- “Reflections on Chinese-English Literary Translation” in Chinese Literature in Dialogue, Writers Publishing, 2015.*
- “Yunan 1968: Dreams of the Zhiqing Generation in Literature and Film” Wenxue, Fudan University Press, 2015.*
- “Storm Under the Sun and the Hu Feng Incident Sixty Years Later” inChengshi wenyi, 2015.*
- “Censorship and Publishing in China”(A Chinafile Conversation), Chinafile/Asia Society, 2015.
- “Imagining the Past, Narrating History: Rereading Three Works of Chinese Historical Fiction from the 1990s” (Xiangxiang wangshi, xushu lishi: Chongdu Zhongguo jiuling niandai de sanben lishi xiaoshuo”) in Fiction, Canon and Modern Consciousness. Rye Field, 2015.*
- More than twenty Chinese-language prose essays published weekly in the column “Random Notes on Film” for The Beijing News (Xin jing bao), June 2013-February 2014. (links to articles available online at Douban)＊
- “Xi Jinping’s Culture Wars”(A Chinafile Conversation). Chinafile/Asia Society, 2014.
- “The Fifth Generation and the New Cinema of the 1980s” and “The Evolution of Chinese Queer Cinema” in Electric Shadows: A Century of Chinese Cinema. London: British Film Institute, 2014.
- “China is Near”in Film Comment. Feature article 2014.
- “Deep Focus: The Fifth Generation” Sight & Soundmagazine, 2014.
- “SARS@Hong Kong: A Brief Pathology of a Cinema of Disease” in A Journal of the Plague Year. Sternberg Press and Para Site, 2014.
- “Taiwan Cinema” in Taiwan: Taiwan: The Bradt Travel Guideby Steven Crook, 2014.
- “The Pitfalls of Chinese-English Literary Translation” Zhongguo yishubao (Chinese Art), 2014.＊
- In Memory of C.T.Hsia, Caixin’s Gaige Zhongguo, 2014.＊
- “Can China’s Leading Indie Film Director Cross Over in America?” (A ChinaFile Conversation). Chinafile/Asia Society, 2013.
- “A Shark Called Wanda—Will Hollywood Swallow the Chinese Dream Whole? (A ChinaFile Conversation). Chinafile/Asia Society, 2013.
- “Chinese Cinema with Hollywood Characteristics, or How the Karate Kid Became a Chinese Film” in Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas, edited by Carlos Rojas and Eileen Chow, Oxford University Press, 2012.
- “The Challenge of Language: My Experience in Translation” in Global Forum on Translating Chinese Literature, Writers Publishing, 2012.＊
- “The Absent American: Figuring the United States in Chinese Cinema of the Reform Era” in The Blackwell Companion to Chinese Cinema, By Yingjin Zhang. Blackwell Publishing, 2012.
- Chinese-language entries on To Live, Yellow Earth, and Xiao Wu in The Golden Horse’s 100 Greatest Chinese Language Films, Taipei 2011.*
- “Atrocity Exhibition: Why City of Life and Death’s treatment of the Nanjing Massacre ignited controversy in China” in Film CommentMay/June 2011.
- “Immigration, Nationalism, and Suicide: Pai Hsien-yung and Pai Ching-jui’s Chinese Obsessions and American Dreams” in Journal of Taiwan Literature. National Taiwan Cheng-chih University Publishing, 2009 (Reprinted in in Pai Hsien-yung’s Art and Literature (Kuashiji de liuli: Bai Xianyong de wenxue yu yishu guojiyantaohui lunwenji), INK, 2009.*
- “A Tale of Two Cities: Romance, Revenge, and Nostalgia in Two fin-de-siecle Novels by Ye Zhaoyan and Zhang Beihai” in Rethinking Chinese Popular Cultureedited by Carlos Rojas and Eileen Chow (Routledge, 2009).
- “Reflections on TranslatingTo Live” Chinese prose essay published online at Sina.com, Soven.com, etc. 2010.*
- “China: 21st Century Tiger” Sight & Sound, British Film Institute September, 2006. ” Italian version,‘Internazionale’ October, 2006.
- “Translating China, Translating Taiwan, Translating Zhang Dachun” in Taiwan Literature and Translation edited by K.C. Tu (Center for Taiwan Studies, UCSB, 2006)
- “Literary Evidence and Historical Fictions: The Nanjing Massacre in Fiction and Film” Canadian Review of East Asian StudiesEdmonton, 2006.
- “Revisiting Atrocity: The Nanjing Massacre on Film” (In Japanese) in China 21 24 (Aichi University Press, 2006).
- “Screening 228: From A City of Sadness to A March of Happiness” in Taiwan Imagined and its Realityedited by K.C. Tu (Center for Taiwan Studies, UCSB, 2005)
- Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture,edited by Ned Davis (Routledge, 2003) Contributing writer (10 entries: He Qun, Liu Xiaoqing, Pan Hong, Rupture writers, Ye Zhaoyan, Wang Xiaobo, Shi Kang, Christopher Doyle, Wu Ziniu, and Wu He)
- “Cinematic Representations of the Rape of Nanjing” in East Asia: An International Quarterly 19, no.4 Winter 2001 (Transactions Periodicals Consortium). (Journal version), reprinted in Japanese War Atrocities: The Search for Justice. Peter Li, editor. January 2003 (Transaction Publishers). (Book version).
- “Hou Hsiao-hsien on Flowers of Shanghai” Criterion Collection Flowers of Shanghai Blu-Ray and DVD, 2021.
- “Xugou xiaoshuo yu Wushe shijian tianye yanjiu: Fang Yusheng Wu He” (“Fiction and Fieldwork: In Conversation with Wu He on Remains of Life”) in Lianhe bao, November 20, 2020.
- “Fiction and Fieldwork: In Conversation with Wu He on Remains of Life” in Chinese Literature Today,
- “Ethics and Experience in the Making of Still Tomorrow: In Conversation with Travis Fan” in Chinese Literature Today,
- “Identity and Creation: In Conversation with Gao Xingjian” in Gao Xingjian and Transmedia Aesthetics, Cambria, 2018.
- “The Emergence of a Writer, The Evolution of a Literary Scene: In Conversation with Wang Anyi” in Chinese Literature Today, 2017
- “A Cultural Renaissance from the Ashes: Kenneth Pai on the Origins of Modern Literature” in Southern Cultural Forum (Nanfang wentan), issue 6, 2016.
- “Memory Document: In Dialogue with Wu Wenguang’s Memory Project” in Filming the Everyday, Routledge, 2016.
- “A Cultural Renaissance from the Ashes: Kenneth Pai on the Origins of Modern Literature” Modernism Revisited. Rye Field, 2015. pp. 21-51.
- “Shadows of a Lonely Flower: Kenneth Pai and Tsao Jui-yuan on Literary Adaptation” Modernism Revisited Rye Field, 2015. pp. 156-169.
- Three Times: Chu T’ien-wen on Writing, Screenwriting, and New Taiwan Cinema, by Michael Berry in Chinese Literature Today Volume 5, Number 2, 2016.
- “Recycling and the Recovery of Lost Memories: A Conversation between Wang Shu and Michael Berry”(Zai huishou zhong zhaohui jiyi: Wang Shu Bai Ruiwen duitan lu” in Dushu(China) September 2015.*
- Writing and Identity: A Conversation with Gao Xingjian”in National Taiwan Normal University Journal (Special Issue on Gao Xingjian), National Taiwan Normal University Press, 2015.*
- “Capturing a Transforming Reality: Michael Berry in Conversation with Jia Zhangke” Independent Art, *
- “From Life of a Gangster to Hong Literature’s Place in the World: Ten Questions for Dream of the Red Chamber Juror Michael Berry” in Fleurs des letters, 2014.*
- A Dialogue on the Translation and Reception of Contemporary Chinese Literature: Michael Berry and Wu Yun. In Nanfang wentan, *
- “My First Film: An Interview with Chang Tso-chi” and “My First Film: An Interview with Hou Hsiao-hsien” in Young Filmmaker’s Handbook Volume 6(China Citic Press), *
- “Guangying yanyu: Xie Jin” (An Interview with Xie Jin)in Science Times (Kexue shibao) October 30, 2008.*
- “Xie Jin shengqian zhuanfang: Yuan wo de dianying gei Zhongguoren xiwang”(Xie Jin’s Final Interview: I hope my films give the Chinese people hope) in Maopu October 30, 2008.*
- “Xie Jin shengqian jieshou guowai zhuanfang: Beiju bi wo feiyao jiang buke” (Xie Jin’s Last Foreign Interview: Tragedy Has Forced me to Speak,” Wenhua pingdao, October, 10, 2008.
- “Fangwen Hou Xiaoxian yu Zhu Tianwen” (“An Interview with Hou Hsiao-hsien and Chu Tien-wen”) in You suosi, naizai hainan by Chu Tien-wen. Taipei, INK 2008. Also reprinted as “Wenzi yu yingxiang” (“Words and Images”) in Hong qiqiu de luxing(Journey of the Red Balloon) Shandong Pictorial 2010. *
- “Yang Dechang: Wo de dianying bushi wannong siwang”(Edward Yang: My Films Don’t Play with Death) in China Times, July 5, 2007.
- “Xingyun di buxing: Yang Dechang lun dianying”(“Luckily Unlucky: Edward Yang on Cinema”) in China Times (Zhongguo shibao: kaijuan zhoubao) July 7, 2007.*
- “Meiyou yijianren de xingwei shi xiuchide – Cai Mingliang”)“There is no such thing as a shameful human act: An Interview with Tsai Ming-liang”) in Liberty Times (Ziyou shibao: Ziyou fukan) July 2007.*
- A Conversation with Michael Berry onSpeaking with Images: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers, plus clips from Berry’s interviews with Chinese auteur director Jia Zhangke Full Tilt Magazine, Taiwan.
- “An Interview with Michael Berry” by Nancy Y. Xu In The China Press (Qiao bao) October 2003.
- “When Worlds Collide” An Interview with Michael Berry by Martin Wong in Giant Robot Issue 30 Subcultured, Los Angeles 2003 pg. 69.
- “Cultural Fallout: An Interview with Jia Zhangke” in Film Comment Volume 39, Number 2, March/April 2003.
- “Words and Images: A Conversation with Hou Hsiao-hsien and Chu T’ien-wen” inpositions: east asia cultures critique Winter 2003 (Issue 11.3) (Duke University Press).
- “A Conversation with Xu Xiao” in Persimmon: Asian Literature, Arts & CultureVolume II, Number 3 Winter 2002.
- “The Translator’s Studio: A Conversation with Howard Goldblatt” in Persimmon: Asian Literature, Arts & Culture Volume III, Number 2 Spring 2002.
- “Creating Alternatives – Interview with Michael Berry” by Chang Chiung-fang, in Sinorama 26 No. 1 January 2001 pg. 24-25. Reprinted in Tangben.
Article Length Translations:
- “Why I Write” by Wang Anyi, “Autobiography” and “Author’s Foreword” by Yu Hua, translated by Michael Berry in Chinese Writers on Writingedited by Arthur Sze, Trinity Press, 2010.
- “Selected poems of Li Yingqiang” translated by Michael Berry in Literary Review Special Issue on Hong Kong Literature (edited by Shen Shuang).
- Remains of Life (excerpt)by Wu He translated by Michael Berry in Taiwan Literature University of California, Santa Barbara Summer 2003.
- “The Literary World of Mo Yan” by David Der-wei Wang translated by Michael Berry in World Literature Today Summer 2000.
- “Postmodernism and Chinese Novels of the Nineties” by Zhang Yiwu, translated by Michael Berry in Postmodernism & Chinaedited by Arif Dirlik and Xudong Zhang (Duke University Press 2000). (book version).
- “Postmodernism and Chinese Novels of the Nineties” by Zhang Yiwu, translated by Michael Berry in Boundary 2volume 24 number 3 fall 1997 (Duke University Press). (journal version).
- Book Review of “Structure, Audience and Soft Power in East Asian Pop Culture.” Pacific Affairs,
- Book Review, The Chinese Cinema Book inHistorical Journal of Film, Radio and Television Issue 1, 2012
- Book Review, “The Hypothetical Mandarin” in Journal of Asian Studies, 2010
- Book Review, “Postsocialist Modernity” in Cinema Journal, 2009
- Film Review “Storm Under the Sun” in The Moving Image, 2009
- Book Review, Memoirs from the Beijing Film Academy. By Ni Zhen in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture,
- Book Review, Rose, Rose I Love Youby Wang Chen-ho in China Review International 9 (University of Hawaii Press 2003).
- Book Review, Red Poppies in Persimmon: Asian Literature, Arts & Culture Volume III, Number 2 Spring 2002.
- Film Reviews “Orphan of Anyang,” “Feeling By Night,” ““Asian American International Film Festival,” etc. 2001-2002 on Offoffoff Film.
- Book Review, Panic and Deafby Liang Xiaosheng in Persimmon Asian Literature, Arts & Culture Volume II, Number 3 Winter 2002.
- Book Review, A Woman Soldier’s Own Story: The Autobiography of Xie Bingying in Persimmon Asian Literature, Arts & Culture Volume III, Number 1 Spring 2002.
*Entries marked by an asterisk are Chinese-language publications.