FAN XIAOQING (1955— ) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

The Dictionary

FAN XIAOQING (1955— ). Fiction writer. Born and raised in the southern city of Suzhou, Fan Xiaoqing spent several years in the countryside after high school. In 1977 she entered Jiangsu Teachers’ College as a Chinese major and four years later joined its faculty. She became a professional writer in 1985 and serves at present as the deputy director of Jiangsu Writers’ Association. Fan is a prolific writer and has received numerous awards for her short stories and novels. In the 1980s, she was celebrated for her portrayals of social relationships and lifestyles in the alleys of Suzhou in such works as Kudang xiang fengliu ji (The Romantic Life in the Crotch Alley) and Lao an (Old Shores), about the life of rickshaw workers during the beginning years of the post-Mao era. In the 1990s, she turned her attention to examining the muddy waters of Chinese bureaucracy in what has been called her “political novels,” the best known of which are Nü tongzhi (A Female Comrade), Bai ri yangguang (One Hundred Days of Sunlight), and Chengshi biaoqing (The Facial Expressions of a City), all dealing with intricate relationships within the governmental system that puts the individual’s ideals and moral standards in direct conflict with the expectations of the political power structure. The difficult negotiations and compromises her characters are forced to make in order to survive reveal some of the fundamental flaws of the system. Fan’s style is generally naturalistic, accessible to the general readership, and her stories and novels describe characters and subjects close to everyday contemporary life. She is considered a “restrained” writer whose views on society and human nature tend to be moderate, even though her subject matter is often political. Fan also writes scripts for film and television. See also WOMEN.