Bonnie McDougall

Professor Bonnie McDougall

  • Post Nominals: FAHA
  • Fellow Type: Fellow
  • Elected to the Academy: 2015


An internationally renowned scholar of modern and contemporary Chinese literature, McDougall’s work focuses on dissent literature, literary censorship, cross-cultural issues in literary translation, intellectual history, and the development of notions of privacy in contemporary China.

Her wide-ranging contributions to the field of contemporary Chinese literature include translations of books of lasting value and importance, such as the poetry of Bei Dao, the novellas of Ah Cheng, and the letters of Lu Xun and Xu Guangping.

Bonnie S. McDougall is Honorary Associate in the Department of Chinese Studies, School of Languages and Cultures, University of Sydney. She first studied Chinese at Peking University, followed by BA (Hons), MA (Hons) and PhD at Sydney University. Academic appointments include teaching and research in modern Chinese literature, language and translation at Sydney University, SOAS, Harvard, Oslo, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the City University of Hong Kong. Appointed founding professor of Chinese at the University of Edinburgh in 1990, she became Professor Emeritus in 2006.

While a full-time translator at the Foreign Languages Press in Beijing in the 1980s, McDougall translated poetry, fiction and film-scripts by writers emerging through the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, among them Bei Dao, Ah Cheng, Chen Kaige, Chen Maiping, Gu Cheng, Qiu Xiaolong, Wang Meng, Wang Anyi and many others. Her other translations include poetry, fiction, drama, essays and letters by Lu Xun and Xu Guangping, Guo Moruo, He Qifang, Ye Shengtao, Yu Dafu, Ding Xilin and Zhu Guangqian. Since 2006 she has specialised in Hong Kong fiction and poetry by Xi Xi, Leung Bing-kwan, Ng Mei-kwan and Dung Kai-cheung.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.