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

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Zhang Xinxin features Author of the Month via Writing Chinese in University of Leeds


We’re also delighted to announce that Xinxin and Helen will be coming to Leeds on July 16th to talk about their work (more details to follow). There’s a particular Leeds connection with Xinxin’s work, as her acclaimed oral history written with Sang Ye – Chinese Lives: An Oral History of Contemporary China – was edited and translated into English by Delia Davin and Bill Jenner, both formerly professors of Chinese in the Department of East Asian Studies here at Leeds, though Delia sadly passed away in 2016.


# 1.   

Glad to hear this about Zhang Xinxin.

I remember very distinctly: Her 《北京人》(Chinese Lives: An Oral History) blew me away. It was THE first book I read in Chinese that I felt captured contemporary Chinese the way people really spoke it.

It reminded me of the in-your-face interviews Studs Terkel used to do with working-class people. No beautifying, no pretentious editing to make interviewees sound like a professor at Bei Da, in a word -- no verbal B.S.

What a pity that most of today's writers in China -- reporters and novelists alike -- have utterly abandoned the pursuit of such hard-hitting realism.

Bruce Humes, July 7, 2018, 1:11a.m.


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