HE LIWEI (1954— )
HE LIWEI (1954— ). Fiction writer, poet, and cartoonist. Born in Changsha, He Liwei graduated from Hunan Teachers’ College. He was a poet before he began writing fiction. His stories, with poetic titles such as “Xiaocheng wu gushi” (No Story in a Small Town) and “Hua fei hua” (The Flower Is No Flower), tend to deemphasize plots and instead focus on language. His first story “Baise niao” (White Birds), which won the 1985 Best Short Story Award, tells about the innocent life of two little boys who are completely unaware of the chaos of the Cultural Revolution unfolding around them. Their world is solitary but sunny and peaceful, filled with the fragrance of wildflowers, pebbles on riverbanks, and white birds flying in the blue sky. To contrast the adult’s cruel world with the children’s serene environment represented a new approach to writing about the Cultural Revolution, making the memory of the era even more frightening. Like a classical imagistic poem, the meaning of the story is hidden in the imageries symbolizing the beauty of childhood. This lyrical approach to fiction writing appears in most of He’s stories.
If He intended his short stories to be sonatas, he envisioned his novellas as symphonies. He liked to string together several independent stories in one text to express the main theme. Guang he yingzi (Light and Shadow), Gen aiqing kaikai wanxiao (Joking with Love), and Beifang luoxue nanfang luoxue (It Snows in the North and It Snows in the South), all about love and marriage, are structured in the same manner. He currently lives in Changsha and is the chairman of the Hunan Writers’ Association. See also ROOT-SEEKING LITERATURE.