literary periodicals

In comparison with Japan, France and even Russia, mainland China has a large number of literary periodicals. If we include academic journals of literary research as well as magazines of popular fiction, literary periodicals in 2001 numbered 346 while the number of all kinds of periodicals was 8,726.
Literary periodicals are often, though by no means exclusively, run by national literary associations, especially the Chinese Writers’ Association, which is actually a ministry of the government, and the many provincial writers’ associations, such as the Shanghai Writers’ Association. The CWA, for example, runs People’s Literature (Renmin wenxue: monthly, Beijing, established in October of 1949) and Magazine of Poems (Shikan: monthly, Beijing, established in January of 1957). Furthermore, almost every important literary publishing house has a literary periodical. Examples include: October (Shiyue: bimonthly, Beijing, established in August of 1978), Prose (Sanwen: monthly, Tianjing, established in January of 1980) and Master (Dajia: bimonthly, Kunming, established in January of 1994).
Most literary periodicals are of 32 mo and can be classified into two kinds: monthlies, with approximately 100,000 characters/issue, that include short stories, verse, prose and reviews; and bimonthlies, with approximately 250,000 characters/issue, that include not only the writings in short forms, but also novelettes, long reviews and even novels. Among the former, the best known are: Shanghai Literature (Shanghai wenxue: Shanghai, established in January of 1953), Writer (Zuojia: Changchun, established in July of 1983) and Beijing Literature (Beijing wenxue: Beijing, established in October of 1980). Among the latter, the most influential are: Harvest (Shouhuo: Shanghai, established in July of 1957), Zhong Mountain (Zhongshan: Nanjing, established in January of 1979), Flower City (Huacheng: Guangzhou, established in April of 1979), The Present Age (Dangdai: Beijing, established in June of 1979) and Frontiers (Tianya: Haikou, established in June of 1980).
Since the early 1990s, most literary periodicals have been in trouble because government financial support at all levels has been heavily reduced if not cut completely (while government oversight has not). As a result, the market of the literature periodicals has been greatly narrowed. Today a monthly usually prints fewer than 5,000 copies/issue, though the number may have been as high as 100,000 in the early 1980s. Only several periodicals can still attract a large number of subscribers: Harvest, for example, has more than 100,000 subscribers, while Frontiers has only 30,000. The magazines of popular fiction are exceptions, and here the market seems to be getting better and better. Strictly speaking, there are only five journals of literary criticism today, among which Critique of Contemporary Writers (Dangdai zuojia pinglun: bimonthly, Shenyang, established in January of 1984) is the best, although it produces only about 4,000 copies/issue.
Kong, Shuyu (2002). ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Chinese Literary Journals in the Cultural Marketplace’. Modern Chinese Literature and Culture 14.1 (Spring): 93–144.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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