Olivia Milburn

Sinologist, Author and Literary Translator

Olivia Milburn is professor of Chinese language and literature at Seoul National University, where she has now been employed for over a decade. She was first drawn to Chinese literature after reading an English translation of the classic novel The Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin. She completed her first degree in Chinese at St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford, a master’s in Oriental studies at Downing College, University of Cambridge, and a doctorate in classical Chinese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. In addition to her work in Seoul, she has served as a lecturer, a visiting professor and a visiting scholar at universities in London, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore. She has authored several books including Cherishing Antiquity: The Cultural Construction of an Ancient Chinese Kingdom, The Spring and Autumn Annals of Master Yan and Urbanization in Early and Medieval China: Gazetteers for the City of Suzhou. In collaboration with Christopher Payne, she has translated two spy novels by Mai Jia, including the bestselling Decoded, from Chinese to English. In 2018, Milburn’s translation work was recognised by the Chinese government with a Special Book Award of China, which honours contributions to bridging cultures and fostering understanding.

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