Kate Costello is a doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford, specializing in modern Chinese literature and culture. Her doctoral thesis examines bilingualism, language games and word play in modern and contemporary experimental literature. Her research focuses on the relationship between bilingualism and linguistic experimentation, investigating the ways that multiple language competencies are deployed within a literary text. Drawing on the work of a broad range of authors that do not fit neatly into Sinophone, Francophone, or Anglophone canons, her thesis resituates these authors within a framework of interlingual writing. Paying special attention to the creative manipulation of sound, script, and syntax, her dissertation examines the playful, devious and irreverent ways that bilingual competencies manifest themselves in experimental writing.

Her research interests extend to film, theatre, and text-based visual arts practices. Kate has a strong interest in linguistics and critical theory, and is co-convener of the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation Discussion Group. She has presented papers at major international conferences including the American Comparative Literature Association annual meeting, the Modern Language Association annual convention, the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, the Association for Chinese Literature and Comparative Literature biannual conference, and the Cognitive Futures in the Humanities annual conference.

Kate is also a literary translator and she has translated short stories, poems and essays by Renshun Jin, Su Xian, and Wa Lan. Her translations have appeared in Washington Square ReviewChinese Arts and Letters, the LA Review of Books China Channel, Paper Republic and Quarterly Asia, as well as the 2018 Seoul International Writer’s Festival Anthology.


Blog Posts

    Upcoming Talks and Conferences


    “The Role of Non-Han Cultural Production in Contemporary Chinese Studies Curriculums: Essential to the Plot or Just a Token Presence? Pema Tseden as Case Study,” Representation and Performance. Space to Speak: Non-Han Fiction and Film in China and Beyond. University of Leeds, Saturday September 8th 2018, 1:45-3:15.

    “Can the Machine Translator Be a Surrealist? On Reading Posthuman Lyric,” Technology, Machines, and Labor. Posthumanism in Modern Chinese Culture. University of New Hampshire, Saturday September 30th 2018, 3:45-5:30.


    Panel Speaker, On Translating Non-sense. ALTA41: Performances, Props, Platforms. American Literary Translators Association. Bloomington, Indiana. Saturday November 3rd 2018, 10:45-12:00.


    Translator and Panel Moderator, Bilingual Readings 3: Asian Languages. ALTA41: Performances, Props, Platforms. American Literary Translators Association. Bloomington, Indiana. Thursday November 1st 2018, 10:45-12:00.


    “The Aesthetics of Machine Translation: Hsia Yu’s Pink Noise.Radical Translation: Technology, Ethics and Aesthetic Agency in Contemporary Chinese Cultural Production. Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference. Denver, Colorado. March 21-24 2018, time TBA.


    Kate Costello

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