YANGDON (1963— )
YANGDON (1963— ). Fiction writer. Born in Lhasa, Yangdon is one of the younger generation of Tibetan writers writing in Chinese. She attended Beijing University, where she majored in Chinese literature, and after graduation she returned to Lhasa to work as an assistant editor for Xizang wenxue (Tibetan Literature), in which her stories began to appear in 1986. Wu xingbie de shen (God without Gender), a novel about a Tibetan aristocratic family published in 1994, is set in the mid-20th century. From the perspective of a precocious young girl, the novel looks at the life of the aristocracy. To render a realistic cultural landscape, Yangdon imbues her work with rich details, vividly capturing the customs of daily life in the aristocratic families and monasteries. In 1997, Yangdon won the Literature Prize for Minorities, and two years later a movie based on her novel was released. In her view, Tibetan culture has been misrepresented in Chinese literature, and as a writer her mission is to rectify the erroneous images and reclaim the ownership of Tibetan cultural representation. She shows a propensity for historical subjects, re-creating a past in contrast to the present. She attempts to retrieve the glorious Tibetan civilization by celebrating Tibetan heroes such as Songtsen Gampo, the founder of the Tibetan Empire, and Tseyang Syatso, the Sixth Dalai Lama, and in so doing she emphasizes her ethnic pride. Since 1994, Yangtsen has been working in Beijing at the Chinese Center for Tibetan Studies, where she works as an editor for China’s Tibetan Studies Press.