LI GUOWEN (1930— )
LI GUOWEN (1930— ). Fiction and prose writer. Like many writers of his generation, Li Guowen’s career was interrupted by political campaigns. Li published his first work in 1957 but soon he was branded a rightist and sent to labor in a railway construction company. He did not resume his writing until 1976 at the end of the Cultural Revolution. After graduating in 1949 from the Nanjing School of Dramatic Arts with a degree in playwriting, Li worked for many years in the performing arts circle. He is, however, better known for his fiction and prose writings than his theater scripts. Dongtian li de chuntian (Spring in Winter), winner of the Mao Dun Literature Prize in 1982, covers a span of four decades of social change through the memory of a veteran revolutionary cadre who returns to the place where he fought as a guerrilla soldier to investigate the death of his wife, who was assassinated 40 years ago. Huayuan jie wu hao (Number 5 Garden Street), another novel, centers on a grand Russian-style mansion that has witnessed modern Chinese history through the lives of its influential occupants. His stories “Yue shi” (The Eclipse) and “Wei lou ji shi” (The Story of Unsafe Buildings) have also won prestigious awards in China. In recent years, Li has devoted a significant amount of his energy to his prose work, publishing several collections of essays, including Da ya cun yan (Elegant Rustic Talk), which won the Lu Xun Literature Prize, and Li Guowen shuo Tang (The Tang Dynasty), a collection of essays on the historical figures and events of that ancient era, one of his many publications that showcase his passion in revisiting Chinese history and civilization and drawing lessons from the past.