Born 17 May, 1961 in Nanjing. Han Dong’s parents were banished to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, taking him with them. When the Cultural Revolution ended, he studied philosophy at Shandong University, graduating in 1982. After teaching in Xi’an and Nanjing, he finally went freelance as a writer in 1993.
Han Dong began writing in 1980, and has been a major player on the modern Chinese literary scene since the 1990s. He is well known as one of China’s most important avant-garde poets, and is becoming increasingly influential as an essayist, short story writer, blogger and novelist.
Featured Reading Group Title
Gu Jieming – A Life and two more short novellas
In Gu Jieming – A Life a man learns that his childhood best friend has been executed for a petty offence. While waiting for a ferry at the end of a lazy afternoon, another man is confronted by a stranger who claims to be a plainclothes detective. A woman is so devoted to her pet cat that it is soon eating better food and more lovingly cared for than the rest of her family. In these three short novellas by Han Dong, we get a dark but not disheartening glimpse of schools, families and justice systems in which something has definitely gone wrong.
- At the Pier and two more short novellas were featured in our summer 2012 Chinese reading group.
- The biography above has been adapted from the one found at Paper Republic, a great site on Chinese writers.
- Nicky Harman, Han Dong’s translator, has written an article in English on Han Dong here.
- You can listen to a story written by Han Dong being read in English here.
- Extract translated into English by Nicky Harman Extract from Gu Jieming by Han Dong (60 kB)
If you’ve read the book or the translated extracts, let us know what you think by commenting below.