Shen Congwen 1902-1988

Modern writer of the Miao minority born in Hunan. In 1918, he joined a local regiment and spent much of his early life moving around the countryside. Influenced by the May Fourth Movement, he travelled alone in 1923 to the capital and sat in on lectures at Peking University. Despite very difficult circumstances, he applied himself to study and began to write. His first stories were published in 1924. In 1928, he moved to Shanghai and was involved in the editing of several literary journals. Shen Congwen was an enormously prolific writer, producing poetry, plays, fiction and essays, but put a stop to his creative career after 1949 and devoted himself to historical research.

Works available in English:

  • Recollections of West Hunan (tr. Gladys Yang). Beijing: Chinese Literature,
  • Imperfect Paradise (ed. Jeffrey Kinkley). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press,