Tie Ning

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Tie Ning
Born 1957 (age 56–57)
Beijing, China
Occupation Novelist, politician
Language Chinese
Nationality Chinese
Alma mater Baoding 11th High School
Period 1975 - present
Genres Novel, prose
Notable work(s) Ah, Xiangxue
How Long is Forever
Wheat Straw Stack
Notable award(s) Zhuang Zhongwen Literary Prize
Lu Xun Literary Prize
Lao She Literary Award
Bing Xin Prose Award
2002 2005
Relative(s) Father: Tie Yang (铁扬)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Tie.

Tie Ning (simplified Chinese: 铁凝; traditional Chinese: 鐵凝; pinyin: Tiě Níng; Wade–Giles: T'ieh Ning, born 1957) is a Chinese author who was born in 1957 in Beijing, China. Her ancestral hometown is in Hebei province. Her works include short stories, "Ah, Xiangxue" (Chinese: 哦,香雪), "The Red Shirt Without Buttons" (Chinese: 沒有紐扣的紅襯衫), "June's Big Topic" (Chinese: 六月的話題), "Wheat Straw Stack" (Chinese: 麥秸垛), "Cotton Stack" (Chinese: 棉花垛), "The Village Road Takes Me Home", "Rose Door" (Chinese: 玫瑰門), "How Long is Forever" (Chinese: 永遠有多遠) and "Da Yu Nv" (Chinese: 大浴女) (Big-Bath Woman).


In 1975, after graduation from high school in Baoding, Tie Ning went to Hebei Province to experience rural life. In 1979, she returned to Baoding and worked in the Baoding Branch of the Chinese Federation of Art and Literature as novel editor. In 1984, she worked in the Creative Writing Workshop of Hebei. Now she is the chairperson of the Writers Association of China, a position no woman ever held.


Tie Ning started publishing her works since 1975. In 1982, her short story "Ah, Xiangxue" (Chinese: 哦,香雪) won a national award. In 1984, her medium-length novels "The Red Shirt Without Buttons" (Chinese: 沒有紐扣的紅襯衫) and short story "June's Big Topic" (Chinese: 六月的話題) won national awards. Since 1980, Tie Ning has published "Path in the Night" and other collections of short stories and novellas. Her "Wheat Straw Stack" (Chinese: 麥秸垛) won an award of the 1986/1987 "Middle-length Novels Offprint"(Chinese: 中篇小說選刊).


Works in her early stage mainly depicted ordinary people and daily life, through which exquisitely portrayed characters' inner world, and reflecting people's dreams and pursuit, contradiction and suffering in their own era.

In 1986 and 1988, she published middle-length novels "Wheat Straw Stack" (Chinese: 麥秸垛) and "Cotton Stack" (Chinese: 棉花垛) respectively, both reflecting ancient history and culture, and concerning female's existence. After 1986, her novels obviously changed towards reflection on traditional Chinese cultures, with polysemous themes and varied techniques. In 1988, she wrote her first full-length novel "Rose Door" (Chinese: 玫瑰門), in which she changed her harmonious and ideal poetic style, and displayed the dark side of life through competition for existence among women in several generations.


"Ah, Xiangxue" (Chinese: 哦,香雪) (1982)

This is a story about a pure and pretty country girl, Xiangxue, "fragrant snow" in Chinese. Xiangxue lives in a village in mountains. Every day, a train from the outside of the mountains stops at the village just for a minute. Xiangxue and other country girls take a small basket of eggs to the train when it stops and exchange them for things they want because they can't get what they need within the village. Xiangxue carries the basket onto the train, and when she sees a pencil box beside a city girl of her age, she dreams to have it without hesitation. She offers her full basket of eggs for it and receives it. It opens up a door to the outside world for her. The story shows the country girl's simplicity and her yearning for civilization.

"The Village Road Takes Me Home" (1983)

Tie Ning is critical of the masculinity model for grounding subjectivity on opposition to the power of the party/state and assuming responsibility over women's lives. This model is concretized in two male characters who both want to marry the female protagonist because they feel responsible for her earlier marriage to a peasant, which left her a widow and prevented her from returning to the city after the policy of sending educated youths to rural China ended.

In her story of the female protagonist's choice between the two, which entails the significant and ideologically loaded choice between the city and the countryside, Tie Ning reveals the complicity of the masculinity model of subjectivity in the party/state's dominant ideology despite its apparent oppositional stance. In its place, she offers the protagonist's feminine understanding of subjectivity as determining one's life-course based on one's own needs, desires, and abilities rather than with reference to-either in opposition or compliance-the party-state and its ideology.

"How Long is Forever" (Chinese: 永遠有多遠) (1999)

Bai Daxing is a typical girl brought up in Beijing's Hutongs. She is a kind girl who is always willing to offer help to everybody around her without any consideration of her own interests. But the innocent Bai is cheated once and again by the friends who have received her help, and even her whole heart. The people she trusts most are making use of her purity and warm-heartedness, which leaves Bai with less and less. Bai's personality does not seem to be in accordance with the times. Tie uses Bai to emphasize how far a modern society is from forever.

"Da Yu Nv" (Chinese: 大浴女; literally: "Big-Bath Woman") (2000)

Tie Ning's semi-autobiographical novel, illustrates how difficult it is for Chinese writers to leave aside national allegory. Set in the world of writing and publishing, the novel relates the story of a young woman and two older men who are both in love with her. The narrative alternates between first- and third-person as the protagonist connects her love affair to her memories of her teenage years, showing how she achieves strength through the interweaving of her private and her public lives. In this rich and complex narrative, the author's strong sense of morality (substituting for political consciousness) serves both to sublimate individual desire and also resurrect the collective history of the recent past.


Preceded by
Ba Jin
Chairlady of Chinese Writer Association