Yan, 49, has won China’s top two literary honours – the Lu Xun award in 1997 and 2001, and the Lao She in 2004. He has published numerous novels and short story collections and three of his books, one of which is about to be published in Australia, have been banned. He is currently forbidden to leave the country.
…… Despite his repeated run-ins with the authorities, however, Yan says he is positive about the future of China. He cites the fact that when his first novel Xia Riluo was banned in 1994, he faced being banished to the countryside. While Serve the People, 11 years later, was banned by both the central propaganda department and the General Administration of Publishing, Yan wasn’t personally criticised or punished.
And although Dream of Ding Village was banned, he still won a lawsuit against the publishers, who had refused to pay his royalties on the copies already sold on the basis that the ban had caused them huge losses. “The punishment or criticism is lessening each time . . . so I feel that the ideological reform in China, even if it is slow, is moving forward step by step. Chinese society will become more open and is getting better.” [Full Text]
[Image: Yan Lianke, by Natalie Behring, from theage.com.au]