Yan Lianke 阎连科

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Biography: Renowned Chinese novelist Yan Lianke was born in an impoverished region of Song County, Henan Province in 1958. His parents, illliterate farmers who lacked the means to send him to university, encouraged him to enlist in the army, where he rose in the ranks to become a propaganda writer. Upon returning to civilian life, Yan embarked on a career as a novelist. Over the last 30 years, he has produced an extensive body of work that ranges from novels, novellas and short fiction to essays and criticism. Although he has had two of his novels banned in China and was, for a period of three years, prohibited from obtaining a passport or travelling abroad, Yan continues to speak honestly about the impact that government censorship - and self-censorship - have had on contemporary Chinese writers.

His full-length novels include: The Dream of Ding Village (丁庄梦, Ding Zhuang Meng), a tale of the blood trade and subsequent Aids epidemic in a rural Henan village; The Joy of Living (Alt title: The Living, 受活, Shou Huo), a sweeping tale of the lives of disabled rural villagers from the Chinese Communist revolution through the years of reform and opening; The Sunlit Years (日光流年, Riguang Liunian); Solidity of Water (Alt title: Hard as Water, 坚硬如水, Jianying Ru Shui) and Serve the People (为人民服务, Wei Renmin Fuwu), which was banned in China and later translated into English, French and Japanese.

He has published ten collections of novellas and short stories: among them, the critically acclaimed Days, Months, Years (年月日, Nian Yue Ri), Song of Balou (耙耧天歌, Balou Tiange) and a five-volume set of his collected works. He is a member of the Chinese Writers’ Association and the recipient of numerous literary awards, including the first and second Lu Xun Literary Prizes and the Lao She Award for literary excellence, awarded in recognition of his novel The Joy of Living (受活, Shou Huo), considered by many to be his master work.

Yan was the recipient of the 2021 Newman Prize for Chinese Literature.

Partial Bibliography:

没有边界的跨越, Meiyou Bianjie de Kuayue (There is No Crossing Borders), Yangtze Art and Literature Press, August 2005.

最后一名女知青 Zuihou Yiming Nu Zhiqing (The Last Sent-down Girl), Shidai (Times) Art and Literature Press, September 2003.

潘金莲逃离西门镇, Pan Jinlian Taoli Ximenzhen (Pan Jinlian Flees West Gate Village), Shidai (Times) Art and Literature Press, August 2003.

夏日落, Xia Ri Luo (Summer Sunset), Chunfeng Art and Literature Press, January 2002.

日光流年, Riguang Liunian (The Sunlit Years), Shidai (Times) Art and Literature Press, October 2001.

坚硬如水, Jianying Ru Shui (Solidity of Water/Hard As Water), Yangtze Art and Literature Press, January 2001.

ESWN has a nice summary of articles about Yan, particularly about Dream of Ding Village.



Read Now: Around the Web

Darkness Visible tr. Roddy Flagg Index on Censorship

Book Publications

Hard Like Water cover

Hard Like Water

| Carlos Rojas

June 15, 2021

The Day the Sun Died cover

The Day the Sun Died

| Carlos Rojas

July 26, 2018

The Explosion Chronicles cover

The Explosion Chronicles

| Carlos Rojas

October 04, 2016

Four Books cover

Four Books

| Carlos Rojas

February 24, 2015

Lenin's Kisses cover

Lenin's Kisses

| Carlos Rojas

October 02, 2012

Dream of Ding Village cover

Dream of Ding Village

| Cindy M. Carter

January 04, 2011

Serve the People cover

Serve the People

| Julia Lovell

February 23, 2008

Original Works

Novella (8)

Novel (9)

Article (1)

Non-fiction (1)

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