NIE GANNU (1903—1986)
NIE GANNU (1903—1986). Essayist, poet, and short story writer. Known for his wit and extraordinary talent, Nie Gannu spent his youth in the 1920s working as a secretary in the Nationalist army, teaching school in Malaysia, editing newspapers in Burma, training as a cadet in the Huangpu Military Academy in Guangzhou, and studying at Sun Yat-sen University in Moscow. In the 1930s, he joined the Left-wing Association of Chinese Writers and the Communist Party and spent several months in prison in Japan for his anti-Japanese activities. In the 1930s and 1940s, while editing progressive newspapers and journals, he wrote political essays, satirizing the Nationalist government and its attacks on the Communists. He also wrote about social injustice and the plight of women. For his sharp and biting language, Nie is widely considered the number two essayist, after Lu Xun, in modern Chinese literature, writing in the genre of satirical essay. After 1949, Nie worked as editor for the Wenhui Daily in Hong Kong and the People’s Literature Press in Beijing. A proud and independent man, he was considered by the authorities as “unruly” and “liberal” and suffered a great deal during the various political campaigns of the People’s Republic of China, despite being a veteran party member and having a long-standing friendship with many of the top leaders. In his later years, Nie wrote many poems in the classical style. Because of his personal integrity and the acute political insights he expressed in his writings, his work has attracted renewed interest in recent years. Other than his essays, Nie also wrote short stories and critical essays on classical Chinese novels.