26 November 2007

Celebrated Writer Qiu Xiaolong Speaks at CUHK



As a staunch supporter of the creative arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) presented a public lecture by renowned writer Prof. Qiu Xiaolong on “Writing China out of China” on campus today (26 November). Prof. Qiu is a Visiting Fellow of this year’s S.Y. Chung Visiting Fellows Programme.

In the lecture, Prof. Qiu Xiaolong shared his unique writing experience with about 100 CUHK staff, students and alumni — his journey from a Chinese writer born in China, to an award-winning English novelist and poet in the US. Prof. Qiu believes it is an advantage rather than a disadvantage to write from a distance. One may see from an angle that those living in the place fail to see. Sometimes writers write more imaginatively and passionately about their homeland when they are away from it. He also talked about employing double, even multiple perspectives in writing. And he addressed the most frequently asked question: For whom are his books written? Readers in the East or in the West?

Born in Shanghai in 1953, Prof. Qiu is one of the most celebrated Chinese novelists and poets writing in English. He published prize-winning poetry, translation and criticism in Chinese in the 1980s. With a special gift for language, he started learning English while in his teens and then developed immense interest in English literature and poetry. In 1988, he moved to the US as a Ford Foundation Fellow, started writing in English, and obtained a Ph.D. in comparative literature at Washington University.

Prof. Qiu shot to fame in the Western literary arena with his highly acclaimed Inspector Chen series of mystery novels, Death of a Red Heroine (2000), A Loyal Character Dancer (2002), When Red is Black (2004), A Case of Two Cities (2006) and Red Mandarin Dress (to be released soon). He is also the author of two poetry translations, Treasury of Chinese Love Poems (2003) and Evoking Tang: An Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry (2007); and his own poetry collection, Lines Around China (2003).

He is a highly popular writer and yet at the same time he raises important political and social issues about contemporary China. His novels, which are all set in China, have been reviewed favourably in the world’s most prestigious literary journals and are among the best sellers. They have been translated into a dozen languages, including German, French, Japanese, Spanish, Norwegian, Dutch, Finnish, Chinese, Swedish, Italian, Danish, Hungarian, and Hebrew. His first novel, Death of a Red Heroine, was nominated for Edgar Allan Poe and Barry awards, and won the Anthony Award in 2001, making him the first Chinese to receive this highest international accolade for detective fiction.

During his stay in Hong Kong, Prof. Qiu will also share his vision in his latest novel and reflect on creative writing in English as a second language with CUHK English Department students.

He lives in St. Louis with his wife and daughter.

The forthcoming novel of Prof. Qiu Xiaolong, Red Mandarin Dress.
The forthcoming novel of Prof. Qiu Xiaolong, Red Mandarin Dress.


Prof. Qiu Xiaolong
Prof. Qiu Xiaolong

Prof. David Parker, Chairman of English Department and Professor of English, CUHK (right) presents a souvenir to Prof. Qiu
Prof. David Parker, Chairman of English Department and Professor of English, CUHK (right) presents a souvenir to Prof. Qiu