Yu Hua is one of the most famous living Chinese writers. He is widely regarded as a champion for China's avant-garde literature.
Yu was born in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, in 1960. Two years later, his family moved to Haiyan county, where Yu attended primary and middle schools. He became a dentist in 1978 and practiced dentistry there for five years, in which he spent almost all his spare time reading and writing. In January 1983, Yu published his first short story and months later became a full-time writer.
Yu's most acclaimed and popular novels include Cries in the Drizzle (1992), To Live (1993), Chronicle of a Blood Merchant (1995), and Brothers (2005-06). His novels have been translated into English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Russian, Italian, Korean, and many other languages.
To Live was adapted into a feature film directed by the highly esteemed Zhang Yimou in 1994 and swept awards at the Cannes Film Festival that year.
Yu was a recipient of the Grinzane Cavour Prize in 1998, the James Joyce Award in 2002, the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France in 2004, and the Prix Courrier International in 2008.
Yu stated that his writing has been heavily influenced by both Franz Kafka and Yasunari Kawabata, among others. Yu's personal life and the country's modern history are also deeply reflected in his writing. In an interview with The New Yorker, he stated that, "My writing is always changing because my country is always changing, and this inevitably affects my views and feelings about things."
Yu Hua. [Photo/zj.zjol.com.cn]