- Waiting for the Owl: poems and songs from ancient China
- Singing of Scented Grass: Verses from the Chinese
Ian Johnston was born at Collaroy, NSW in 1939. An eminent neurosurgeon, Ian was appointed a member the Order of Australia (AM) for services to medicine. Throughout his career Ian also pursued a life-long passion with ancient languages, completing a BA Hons course in Chinese at Sydney University and a PhD in Chinese. His translations were performed at Moorilla during the inaugural Ten Days on the Island festival, and have featured on ABC radio and television, including Arts Today and Compass.
Dr. Ian Johnston (AM)
Ian says, 'Despite the great gulf in time and culture I find a resonance in the writings of these poets, especially Wang Wei; the feeling of increasing disaffection with public life and sadness at the 'strange mutations' of the world, leading to the wish to spend my life in relative solitude, immersed in the beauties of nature, the writing of verse, and the study of Zen Buddhism.
If these books have a primary purpose it is to introduce readers to the beauties of Chinese verse as I was introduced to them almost fifty years ago. The richness of the poetic tradition, the variety of form and subject extending back to the Classic of Poetry from early in the first millennium BC is unparalleled in any other literature, offering endless reward to those who explore it, either in translation or in the original.'
Ian Johnston is the proud recipient of The NSW Premier’s Translation Prize, 2011.
The substantial prize is offered biennially by Arts NSW and the Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural NSW in association with Sydney PEN.