BI SHUMIN (1952— )
BI SHUMIN (1952— ). Fiction writer. Born in Yili, Xinjiang, Bi Shumin joined the military at 16 upon graduation from the Beijing Foreign Languages School, where she majored in Russian. Bi spent the next 11 years in Tibet, working in the army first as a nurse, then a medic, and finally a doctor, until the 1980s, when she finished her military service and returned to Beijing. To nurture her budding literary interest, she studied creative writing at Beijing Normal University and received her master’s in 1991. Later, she returned to the university and received her Ph.D. in psychology in 2002.
Bi began writing in the 1980s, inspired by her experience in Tibet. Her first publication “Kunlun shang” (Death in the Kunlun Mountain), a story about the sacrifices of the soldiers and officers stationed in Tibet, appeared in 1987 and she continued to write about the hardships endured by the Chinese military in the Tibetan plateau, especially by women in a predominantly male world. In recent years, Bi has been fascinated by the subject of human psychology. Her breakthrough story “Yuyue siwang” (An Appointment with Death) examines the experience of patients and their families when faced with incurable illnesses. Her novel Zhengjiu rufang (Saving the Breasts) explores the effects of breast cancer on women. Many of these works are based on her direct encounters with patients in her medical practice. Her recent novel Nü xinli shi (The Female Psychologist) tells how a psychologist maintains her professional authority when dealing with her patients who seek her advice while trying to sort out her own messy relationships with her husband and her lover.