“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Ah Cheng

阿城 钟阿城

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Ah Cheng, the pseudonym of Zhong Ahcheng (钟阿城), was born in 1949 in Beijing. He is a contemporary novelist, scriptwriter, and painter. During the Cultural Revolution Ah Cheng was sent to the countryside in Shanxi province, where he started to paint. From there he was transferred to Inner Mongolia in order to paint the grasslands, later settling in Yunnan, before moving back to Beijing.

He came to prominence during the 1980s as a member of the ‘seeking roots’ literary movement, alongside writers such as Han Shaogong (韩少功) and Mo Yan (莫言). Before writing fiction, he helped his father, the film critic Zhong Dianfei, compose ‘The Art of Cinema’ (电影美学). Their influences included Marx, Hegel, classical Chinese texts such as the ‘The Book of Changes’, and the philosophies of Confucianism, Chan Buddhism and Daoism. His knowledge of Chinese classical culture, as well as Western literature, shaped his fiction writing. His most famous work is a trilogy of novels《孩子王》(lit. King of Children),《棋王》(lit. King of Chess),and《树王》(lit. King of Trees). Bonnie McDougall’s translation appeared in 1990; Three Kings. William Collins Sons (London). The ‘King of Chess’ was recently retranslated as The Chess Master by W. J. F. Jenner, and is presented as a bilingual edition by Chinese University Press (2005).

Bonnie McDougall has also translated a collection of his short stories, entitled Unfilled Graves (Panda Books, Beijing, 1995). The stories included in this collection are translated as ‘Unfilled graves’, ‘The kind-hearted prostitute’, ‘Six New Year sketches’, ‘Speaking of the Wangs’, ‘Lao Liu’, ‘The drowning in the pond’, ‘Story of the Liangs’, ‘Northeasterners’, ‘Salt flats’, and ‘Jiazi’. His shorter works in Chinese include《会餐》(lit. Dine Together),《树桩》(lit. Tree Stump)《周转》(lit. Turnover),《卧铺》(lit. Sleeper),《傻子》(lit. Fool) and《迷路》(lit. Lost).

‘King of Chess’ won both the critics’ choice in the1984 Fujian ‘short to middle length novel’ literary prize, and the third National Prize for best novella. In 1992 he received the Italian Nonino International Prize for his literary achievements, and in 1995 his ‘Venetian Diary’《威尼斯日记》received an award in Taiwan. In 2008 he took part in the Chinese pavilion at the eleventh Venice Biennale.

Other works already translated:

"The Bath." Tr. Stephen Fleming. Chinese Literature (Spring 1989): 72-75.

"The Cableway." Chinese Literature (Spring 1989): 67-71.

"Chimney Smoke." Tr. H. Goldblatt. In Helen Siu, ed. Furrows, Peasants, Intellectuals and the State: Stories and Histories from Modern China. Stanford: Stanfor UP, 1990, 262-67. Also in Loud Sparrows: Contemporary Chinese Short-Shorts. Trs. Aili Mu, Julie Chiu, and Howard Goldblatt. NY: Columbia University Press, 2006, 174-76. "Cloth Shoes." In Loud Sparrows: Contemporary Chinese Short-Shorts. Trs. Aili Mu, Julie Chiu, and Howard Goldblatt. NY: Columbia University Press, 2006, 54-55. "The Cycle." In Loud Sparrows: Contemporary Chinese Short-Shorts. Trs. Aili Mu, Julie Chiu, and Howard Goldblatt. NY: Columbia University Press, 2006, 139-42.

"Father." Trs. Ren Xiaoping and Helen Siu. In Helen Siu, ed., Furrows, Peasants, Intellectuals and the State: Stories and Histories from Modern China. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1990, 311-18.

"Festival." Tr. Ann Huss. In David Der-wei Wang, ed., Running Wild: New Chinese Writers. NY: Columbia UP, 1994, 128-136.

"The First Half of My Life: A Boy from the City Struggling for Survival in Far-Away Yunnan." Tr. Linette Lee. In Helmut Martin, ed., Modern Chinese Writers: Self-portrayals. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1992, 107-117. "Hatred." In Loud Sparrows: Contemporary Chinese Short-Shorts. Trs. Aili Mu, Julie Chiu, and Howard Goldblatt. NY: Columbia University Press, 2006, 165.

"The Kind-Hearted Prostitute." Tr. S. Smith. Chinese Literature (Aut. 1992): 40-50. "The King of Chess." [partial] Tr. W.J.F. Jenner. In Yang Bian, ed., The Time is Not Ripe: Contemporary China's Best Writers and Their Stories. Beijing: FLP, 1991, 14-40. "Observe." In Loud Sparrows: Contemporary Chinese Short-Shorts. Trs. Aili Mu, Julie Chiu, and Howard Goldblatt. NY: Columbia University Press, 2006, 72-74. "Pets." In Loud Sparrows: Contemporary Chinese Short-Shorts. Trs. Aili Mu, Julie Chiu, and Howard Goldblatt. NY: Columbia University Press, 2006, 118-20.

"Six New Year Sketches." Tr. S. Smith. Chinese Literature (Aut. 1992): 51-70.

"The Tree Stump." In Jeanne Tai, ed., Bamboo Spring. NY: Random House, 1989, 25-33. "Under Observation." In Geremie Barme, New Ghosts, Old Dreams: Chinese Rebel Voices. NY: Times Books, 1992, 355-57.

"Yesterday's Today and Today's Yesterday." Tr. Frances Wood. In Henry Zhao and John Cayley, eds., Under-sky Underground: Chinese Writing Today #1. London: Wellsweep, 1994, 105-13.

 

Original Works

Short stories (1)

Essays (1)

Flash fictions (6)

Translations

Flash fictions (1)