25 October 2001
Mr Gao Xingjian
Mr Gao Xingjian was awarded the
Nobel Prize in Literature 2000 and is, to date, the first and only Chinese
writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Swedish Academy lauded
his novel Lingshan (Soul Mountain) together with other writings as
"an oeuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity,
which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama".
Born in Ganzhou of
Jianxi Province, China, in 1940, Mr Gao graduated from the French department
of the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute in 1962 and worked as a translator
after graduation. He made his debut in the literary scene with his novel,
Hanye zhong de xingchen (Stars on a Cold Night) and literary
theory writing Xiandai xiaoshuo jiqiao chutan (A Preliminary Exploration
into the Techniques of Modern Fiction). In 1981, Mr Gao joined Beijing People's
Art Theatre as a resident playwright. The next year, his theatrical debut
Juedui xinhao (Absolute Signal) was staged by ten art troupes
across the country. A prolific writer, 18 of his plays have been staged worldwide,
including mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, the United
States of America, countries in Europe and Africa. They are all regarded
highly. His works, the great majority of which written in Chinese, have been
translated into French, Swedish, English, Italian, German, Latin, Hungarian,
Japanese, Korean, and other languages, bringing Chinese literature into the
world literary arena.
A prominent playwright,
director, novelist, painter, and literary theorist, Mr Gao has made enormous
contributions to contemporary Chinese literature and art, especially in the
last two decades of the past century. His plays have been staged in Hong
Kong's theatres as early as the mid-80s. In 1995, he came to Hong Kong to
direct the Hong Kong premier of Bi'an (The Other Shore). More recently,
his important works including Meiyou zhuyi (Without Isms), Shanhaijing
zhuan (The Classic of Mountains and Seas), and Zhoumo sichongzou
(Weekend Quartet) were published in Hong Kong. He has also held several
exhibitions of his ink-brush paintings in the territory.
Over the years, Mr
Gao has given valuable support to art and literature research at The Chinese
University of Hong Kong. In October 1993, he visited Hong Kong for the first
time at the invitation of the Institute of Chinese Studies of the University
to deliver the first Sin Wai Kin Lecture on Contemporary Chinese Culture.
His writings have been carried by the Twenty-First Century bimonthly
published by the Institute. In December 1993, he visited Hong Kong again
and attended the International Symposium on Contemporary Play-writing in
the Chinese Language, hosted by Sir Run Run Shaw Hall of the University.
An anthology of five of his plays was translated into English, entitled
The Other Shore, by Professor Gilbert Fong of the Department of Translation
and published by The Chinese University Press. Mr Gao visited the University
early this year and presented a public lecture on 30th January -- his first
in Hong Kong since receiving the Nobel Prize, sharing his insights into the
'Language of Literature' with his audience.