HONG YING (1962— )
HONG YING (1962— ). Novelist and poet. Born in Chongqing, Sichuan Province, Hong Ying grew up in the squalid urban slums depicted in her memoir, Ji’e de nü’er (Daughter of the River). She began writing poetry in the early 1980s and a few years later received formal training at both the Lu Xun Creative Writing Academy and Fudan University. In 1991, she left China to study in London and has been living there since then.
The publication in 1997 of her memoir, Ji’e de nii’er, brought Hong instant fame. In the book, she describes her coming-of-age in a historical period ravaged by poverty and political repression. Set in the era of the great famine caused by the misguided policies of the Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s, the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, and the 1989 Tian’anmen Prodemocracy Movement, the book is nonetheless more about the heroine’s struggle for liberty, both intellectual and sexual, than an exposé of the totalitarianism of the Mao era. Following the success of her memoir, Hong published several novels in quick succession. K (K: The Art of Love), an erotic novel, is based on the love affair between Ling Shuhua, a well-known Chinese writer, and Julian Bell, son of Vanessa Bell and nephew of Virginia Woolf. Ah Nan (Ananda) mixes a detective story, an adventure novel, and a tragic love story with a philosophical and religious quest for enlightenment. The nod to Buddhism found in Ah Nan continues into her next novel, Kongque de jiaohan (Peacock Cries), in which the concept of reincarnation makes its way into the political, environmental, and sexual tensions surrounding the Three Gorges Dam Project. Hong’s latest works include Shanghai wang (Ruler of Shanghai) and Shanghai zhi si (Death in Shanghai). She is a prolific and popular writer who enjoys a large following both in Taiwan and on the mainland. See also WOMEN.