Gao Xingjian 高行健

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Before he left China for good in 1987, the 2000 Nobel Laureate in Literature Gao Xingjian was known on the mainland as a painter, sculptor and playwright, not as an author. After graduating from the French Department at Beijing Foreign Studies University in 1977 he worked in Beijing as a French-Chinese translator, and once accompanied a group of Chinese authors that included the modern literary giant Ba Jin on a trip to Paris (from whence came the essay "Ba Jin in Paris)." In the early eighties he collaborated with playwright Liu Huiyuan in the production of the absurdist plays "Bus Stop" and "Alarm Signal," published the critical work Creative Techniques in Modern Literature and continued work in the fine arts. In 1985 in Beijing, he and the artist Yin Guangzhong held an exhibition of works in clay -- the only exhibition Gao Xingjian has ever held in mainland China. In 1987 traveled to Beijing to continue his career as an artist, then moved to Paris a year later. Like Ha Jin, the incidents of June 4, 1989 cemented his resolve not to return to China.

All of Gao Xingjian's dramatic works are banned from performance in China and his books are not available for purchase. The fact that Gao Xingjian was a French citizen in 2000 when he won the Nobel led to a denial by China's government that he was Chinese. He is, unsurprisingly and unfortunately, much less widely read in China than in the West -- the majority of Chinese readers have not heard of him.

Short story
The Accident, published in The New Yorker, 6 June 2003


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Original Works

Short story (2)

Novel (2)

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