Kang Zhengguo is the author of a quirky, highly-praised memoir about life during the Cultural Revolution, “Confessions: An Innocent Life in Communist China” (2007, trans by Susan Wilf). A self-described misfit, individualist, contrarian and ne’er-do-well, Kang commits countless minor political offenses with both his tongue and his pen. These offenses eventually lead to his expulsion from university, forced labor in a brickyard, a three-year prison term, and a failed career as a rural laborer in a peasant commune. Writing in the “New York Times,”William Grimes called the book, “A mesmerizing read.... Like a character in a picaresque novel, Mr. Kang stumbles from one misadventure to the next, his big mouth and relaxed habits ensuring disaster at every turn.... Mr. Kang serves as an extraordinary guide through an extraordinary period of Chinese history.”
Kang’s other publications, which have yet to be translated into English, include “Lu Meng” (“Deer Dreams,” 1999), “Feminism and Literature” (1994), and “A Study of Classical Chinese Poetry on Women and by Women” (1988).
A poet and scholar of classical Chinese literature, Kang has been Senior Lecturer in Chinese at Yale University since 1994.
Taken from New York State Writers' Institute