Yan Geling 严歌苓
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Born in Shanghai, Yan Geling is one of the most acclaimed contemporary novelists and screenwriters writing in the Chinese language today, as well as a well-established writer in English. She is the author of numerous novels, short stories, essays and screenplays. Many of her works have been adapted for film and television.
Yan began performing as a dancer at the age of twelve. She served in a performance troupe in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in the Chengdu Military District during the Cultural Revolution and frequently toured Tibet. She later served as a journalist near the front of the Sino-Vietnamese Border War. She was subsequently assigned to a writers’ unit under the PLA Railway Engineering Corps and achieved a rank equivalent to lieutenant colonel.
Yan Geling’s first novel was published in 1985. She has written in both Chinese and English: The Banquet Bug (published as The Uninvited in the United Kingdom, 2006) was written in English, while Fusang 《扶桑》, as well as a collection of stories entitled White Snake and Other Stories (白蛇), and many subsequent novels were written in Chinese and translated (see below). Yan Geling is notable among Chinese authors for having close links with the film industry. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and of the Writers’ Guild of America, west, the Hollywood screenwriters’ union. Many of her works have been adapted for film and television, often with Yan writing the screenplays herself. These include Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl, directed by Joan Chen, and Youth 芳华，directed by Feng Xiaogang. Zhang Yimou adapted her novel 13 Flowers of Nanjing ( 金陵十三钗) to the screen as The Flowers of War, while his movies Coming Home and One Second are based on Yan's novel The Criminal Lu Yanshi.
Miyuzhe 密语者. Translated by Jeremy Tiang as The Secret Talker (HarperVia, 2021)
Xiaoyi Duohe 小姨多鶴 (2008). Translated by Esther Tyldesley as Little Aunt Crane (Harvill Secker, 2015)
Jinling Shisan Chai 金陵十三钗 (2011). Translated by Nicky Harman as The Flowers of War (Vintage, 2012)
The Banquet Bug: A Novel (Hyperion, 2006). Written in English. Published as The Uninvited in UK (Faber and Faber, 2006)
Fusang 扶桑. Translated by Cathy Silber as The Lost Daughter of Happiness (Hachette Books, 2001)
Nü Fangdong 女房东. Translated by Lawrence A. Walker as ‘The Landlady’ in Granta (2015)
Mage Shi Zuo Cheng: Peiqian Huo 妈阁是座城: 赔钱货 (2014). Excerpt translated by David Haysom as ‘Disappointing Returns’ in Read Paper Republic (2015)
Mai Hong Pingguo de Mang Nüzi 卖红苹果的盲女子. Translated by Herbert Batt as ‘The Blind Woman Selling Red Apples’ in Tales of Tibet: Sky Burials, Prayer Wheels, and Wind Horses. (Rowman and Littlefield, 2001)
Novella and Short Story Collections
Bai She 白蛇 . Translated by Lawrence A. Walker as White Snake and Other Stories (Aunt Lute Books, 1999)
Essays Man Man Man 瞒瞒瞒. Translated by Nicky Harman as ‘Hide! Hide! Hide!’ (Read Paper Republic, 2020)
Books to Films
Film name: One Second (2020) Director: Zhang Yimou. Adapted from The Criminal Lu Yanshi 陆犯焉识 (2011).
Film name: A City Called Macau (2018) Director: Li Shaohong. Adapted from A City Called Macau 妈阁是座城 (2014).
Film name: Youth (2017) Director: Feng Xiaogang. Adapted from Fanghua 芳华 (2017).
Film name: Coming Home (2014). Director: Zhang Yimou. Adapted from The Criminal Lu Yanshi 陆犯焉识 (2011).
Film name: Xiu Xiu: The Sent-down Girl (1998). Director: Joan Chen. Adapted from Celestial Bath 天浴 (1996).
Film name: Siao Yu (1995). Director: Sylvia Chang. Script by Sylvia Chang and Ang Lee and co-produced by Ang Lee. Adapted from Xiaoyu 少女小渔 (1992).
Yan Geling’s filmography can also be found by searching on IMDb.com (International Movie Database)
Yan Geling is represented by Agence Astier-Pécher of Paris. www.pierreastier.com
Read Now: On Paper Republic
|Hide! Hide! Hide!||tr. Nicky Harman||March 28, 2020|
|Disappointing Returns||tr. David Haysom||November 19, 2015|
Short story (6)
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