May 2015: A Yi 阿乙

Chinese-author-Ah-Yi-238x300Born in 1976, A Yi (real name Ai Guozhu) worked as a police officer, secretary and editor before settling down at the age of 32 to the fiction he always knew he would write. Hardly a celebrated figure in China’s literary circles, A Yi’s stubborn dedication to his art and slightly standoffish personality have meant his slowly growing prominence has depended on the support of non-mainstream media and literary figures who have spotted his talent. After a brief stint on the editorial board of Chutzpah, a new literary magazine featuring work by younger and edgier writers (like A Yi himself), he moved to the Xiron publishing company, where he is an editor of the the “Iron Gourd” literary-fiction imprint.

A Yi

While he has been posting short stories and commentary on his blog since the beginning of 2004, A Yi did not appear in print until his first collection of short stories was published in 2008. This was followed in 2010 by The Bird Saw Me, 鸟看见了我, another short story collection that developed A Yi’s bizarre literary style and utterly unsentimental worldview. A book of observations, blog posts, and sketches, Guaren, 寡人 was published in 2011, and his first longer piece, the novella Now, What Shall I Do Next?, 下面我该干些什么?, came out in China in 2012. This has now been translated into English by Anna Holmwood, under the title A Perfect Crime, and is published by Oneworld.

A Yi is represented by the Peony Literary Agency.

(Bio from Paper Republic)

For this month’s book club, we’ve chosen the short story ‘The Curse’ 杨村的一则诅咒, translated by Julia Lovell and first published in Chutzpah magazine.

You can read more about A Perfect Crime in this four star review from the South China Morning Post.

In this article from China Daily USA, A Yi talks about his experience as a writer-in-residence in Beijing.

And A Perfect Crime is on various recommended reading lists, including this one from the Irish Times.