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Geling Yan

 

Geling Yan (嚴歌苓)is one of the most acclaimed novelists and screenwriters in the Chinese language and a well-established writer in English. Born in Shanghai, she served with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) during the Cultural Revolution, starting at age twelve as a dancer in an entertainment troupe.
 
After more than a decade with the PLA, she published her first novel in 1986 and has been writing constantly ever since. Her first book-length publication in English was White Snake and Other Stories, translated by Lawrence A. Walker and published by Aunt Lute.  Her other novels in English are The Secret Talker, Little Aunt Crane, The Flowers of War, The Banquet Bug and The Lost Daughter of Happiness.
 
Many of Ms. Yan's works have been adapted for film and television, directed or produced by famous directors such as Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Feng Xiaogang, Ang Lee, Li Shaohong and Joan Chen.  She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, France’s Société des Gens de Lettres, and the Writers’ Guild of America (west).
 
Ms. Yan holds an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College, Chicago. She has published over 40 books and has won over 30 literary and film awards.  Her works have been translated into twenty-one languages.  She has been subject to an unpublicized ban on her new work in China since March 2020, when she wrote an essay criticizing the Chinese government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.  She resides in Berlin, Germany and has founded a company, New Song Media GmbH, to publish her literary works and produce films outside of China and out of reach from Chinese government censorship.    

Her author website is www.yangeling.com and her company website is www.newsongmedia.de.
 

 

Author photo by Su Tang

BOOK

White Snake

By Geling Yan

In this collection of five short stories and a novella, set mostly in China during and after the Cultural Revolution, Geling Yan presents us with unforgettable characters who have all, in one way or another, left home. Taking as her territory the disorienting space between home and away, Yan charts the unexpected and illuminating transformation of her characters' hearts and minds as they find themselves thrust into unlikely intimacy with strangers who embody different histories and different desires. White Snake is the first English translation of this award-winning author's elegantly crafted writing.

White Snake

By Geling Yan

In this collection of five short stories and a novella, set mostly in China during and after the Cultural Revolution, Geling Yan presents us with unforgettable characters who have all, in one way or another, left home. Taking as her territory the disorienting space between home and away, Yan charts the unexpected and illuminating transformation of her characters' hearts and minds as they find themselves thrust into unlikely intimacy with strangers who embody different histories and different desires. White Snake is the first English translation of this award-winning author's elegantly crafted writing.

PRAISE FOR WHITE SNAKE

Yan’s stories are very sensuous. One experiences and becomes immersed in her works instead of simply reading them. In my opinion, Geling Yan is the most exquisite fiction writer in the Chinese language.

—Joan Chen

 

Not only is Geling Yan a magnificent storyteller, but she is also a master stylist. Every character she creates on the page quickly springs to action with all of the complexity, contradiction, drama, tragedy and triumph of real life. Yan is one of the best of today’s writers…Every fan of first-rate fiction will finish this collection with a hunger for more of this talented writer’s magic.

—Larry Engelmann, author of Daughter of China

 

This superb collection of five stories and a novella by a prizewinning Chinese writer vividly dramatizes the varied human consequences of her country’s repressive and punitive "Cultural Revolution"…Translator Walker has appended extensive and informative "Footnotes" to his admirable translation of Yen’s accomplished and seductively beautiful stories.

—Kirkus Reviews

 

Yan is an incredible writer—subtle, gorgeous, sly, and profound…this book, to put it simply, is a knock-out. Not only do the stories here describe an important moment in human history…they do what great literature has always done. They move us. They uplift us. They show us again that it is a strange and wonderful and terrible thing to be what we are.

—Ink, The New Times L.A.

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