September 2016: Ge Fei 格非
Ge Fei (original name: Liu Yong) was born in Jiangsu Province in 1964. He graduated with a degree in Chinese from Shanghai’s East China Normal University (ECNU) in 1985 and taught at ECNU for several years after graduation. In 2000, he received his PhD in Chinese literature and joined the faculty of Qinghua University in Beijing. He published his first story “Remembering Mr. Wu You” in 1986, followed by “Mizhou” in 1987, a story which brought him instant fame. The subsequent novella A Flock of Brown Birds, published in ’87, established him as one of the standout writers of experimental “avant-garde” fiction during that decade.
In 2004, he published Kinds of Beauty, the seminal first work of a historical trilogy that also includes Rivers and Mountains Fall Asleep and Spring Comes to the South (sometimes referred to as The Last Southern Spring). He doesn’t participate in as many public events as his compatriots do, and devotes the time he does not use for writing to his teaching. When asked about what he’s working on, he will frequently respond that he’s a professor, not an author, even though practically speaking, he happens to be one of the founders of contemporary literature in China.
We’ve decided to feature Ge Fei as our author of the month to coincide with the publication in English of his novel The Invisibility Cloak, translated by Canaan Morse, and the novella Flock of Brown Birds, translated by Poppy Toland. The story we’ve chosen is ‘Song of Liangzhou’, translated by Dave Haysom and first published in Pathlight in Autumn 2014. You can read the story in English on our site here, and the Chinese original is here.