Born in 1976, A Yi (real name Ai Guozhu) worked as a police officer, secretary and editor before settling down at the age of 32 to the fiction he always knew he would write. Hardly a celebrated figure in China's literary circles, A Yi's stubborn dedication to his art and slightly standoffish personality have meant his slowly growing prominence has depended on the support of non-mainstream media and literary figures who have spotted his talent. After a brief stint on the editorial board of Chutzpah, a new literary magazine featuring work by younger and edgier writers (like A Yi himself), he moved to the Xiron publishing company, where he is an editor of the the "Iron Gourd" literary-fiction imprint.
While he has been posting short stories and commentary on his blog since the beginning of 2004, A Yi did not appear in print until his first collection of short stories, Grey Stories, was published in 2008. This was followed in 2010 by The Bird Saw Me, another short story collection that developed A Yi's bizarre literary style and utterly unsentimental worldview. A book of observations, blog posts, and sketches, Guaren, was published in 2011, and his first longer piece, the novella Now, What Shall I Do Next?, came out in China in 2012. Though highly popular with a select group of readers and writers (Li Jingze, former head editor of People's Literature Magazine regularly praises him publicly), A Yi's reputation has not yet spread to a wider reading public (and, given the darkness of his subject matter, it might not).
A Yi's first book to appear in English is A Perfect Crime (translated from Now, What Shall I Do Next?), published by Oneworld, June, 2015 (UK). Translated by Anna Holmwood.
An English translation of his story "The Curse" can be read here.
A Yi is represented by Peony Literary Agency.
See Asymptote's Sinophone "20 Under 40"
Photo by Matthew Niederhauser.
A Yi is the featured author in READ PAPER REPUBLIC, week 1, 18 June 2015.
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Short stories (43)
- Yiwai Sharen Shijian (意外杀人事件)
- Yijian Meiyou Zhenpo de Anzi (一件没有侦破的案子)
- Xianzhi (先知)
- Pinji zhi Di (贫瘠之地)
- Zai Liufang Di (在流放地)
- Nin hao (您好)
- Yang Cun de Yize Zuzhou (杨村的一则诅咒)
- Jiduan Nianyue (极端年月)
- Liang Sheng (两生)
- Didiwei (敌敌畏)
- Xiaomaibu Daxia (小卖部大侠)
- Guoji Yingxiang (国际影响)
- Mianzi (面子)
- Nannü Guanxi (男女关系)
- San Dao Shi Miao (三到十秒)
- Xiawu Chuxian de Mogui (下午出现的魔鬼)
- Hei'an (黑暗)
- Yijiubaba Nian he Yiliang Xiongshi Motuo (一九八八年和一辆雄狮摩托)
- Bisheng zhi Shi (毕生之始)
- Yijiubasan Nian (一九八三年)
- Huanghun Women Chi Hongshu (黄昏我们吃红薯)
- Adidasi (阿迪达斯)
- Zisha zhi Lü (自杀之旅)
- Zangli Zhaochang Juxing (葬礼照常举行)
- Liangshi Wenti (粮食问题)
- Dou Shi Yinwei Xiale Yu (都是因为下了雨)
- Zai Wei (再味)
- Baifenzhi Wushi (百分之五十)
- Huxian (狐仙)
- Chuntian (春天)
- Wubaiwan Hanzi (五百万汉字)
- Hudie Xiaoying Juzhu (蝴蝶效应巨著)
- Shijie (世界)
- Mingchao he Erishiyi Shijie (明朝和二十一世纪)
- Baqian li Lu Yun he Yue (八千里路云和月)
- Xiayuan Cun de Tonghua (下沅村的童话)
- Xiaoren (小人)
- Niao Kanjian Wo le (鸟看见我了)
- Yinshi (隐士)
- Bahe (巴赫)
- Feicui Yizi (翡翠椅子)
- Huoxing (火星)
- Qingrenjie Baozha An (情人节爆炸案)