ZHANG XINXIN (1953— ) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

The Dictionary

ZHANG XINXIN (1953— ). Fiction and prose writer. Born in Nanjing, Zhang Xinxin grew up in Beijing in a military family. She has worked at a number of jobs including farmworker, soldier, nurse, television anchor, and theater director. Her literary career began in the early 1980s while she was a student at the Central Institute of Theater. She has been living in the United States since 1988.

Zhang’s best-known work is the oral histories she and Sang Ye collected from their interviews of people of different social backgrounds, ranging from a professional basketball player to a former prostitute. Her style of writing has shifted from a subjective voice venting frustrations about men and society in her early stories, to that of a storyteller who enjoys weaving complicated tales such as “Wan yihui zuoze de baxi” (Playing a Thief’s Game), to a narrative mode devoid of the authorial voice as in the oral histories. In recent years, Zhang has written mostly nonfiction, including a book based on her experience working for the Voice of America entitled Wo zhidao de meiguo zhiyin (The Voice of America That I Know). See also WOMEN.