Lin Bai

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Lin Bai
Beiliu County, Guangxi, China[1]

Lin Bai, born Lin Baiwei (Chinese: 林白; 1958– ), is a Chinese avant-garde writer.[2] Her best known works deal with female homoeroticism in post-Mao China and are also known for being very personal and autobiographical.


Baiwei's father died when she was three. She was sent to the countryside in as an "educated youth" at seventeen and started writing poetry.[2] In 1977, she passed the college entrance exams and went to Wuhan University to study library science from 1978 to 1982. After graduation, Lin Bai first worked as a librarian in Guangxi Provincial Library. From 1985 to 1990, she worked in Guangxi Film Studio as an editor and screenwriter. She migrated to Beijing in the early 1990s to work for the newspaper Chinese Cultural Forum. In the early 1990s she married a senior cultural official and together had a daughter in 1991. They marriage later ended in divorce. She now works at home as a full-time writer.

A War of One's Own[edit]

A War of One's Own, sometimes known as A Self at War[1] and published in 1994, is an autobiographical novel that caused a lot of controversy for its sexual openness. Some critics decried the book as pornography when it was released.[3] It is based on her own life as a young writer moving from an outlying provincial town (Beiliu) to Beijing.[1] The story opens with a young girl, Duomo, masturbating.

The book is often compared with Chen Ran's A Private Life for their similar themes.

Writing career and reception[edit]

Although she began writing poems, she is primarily known as a fiction writer who draws heavily on personal experience.[1]

Many of Lin Bai's works explore the problems that face women in maturity. Women's sexual identity and private experiences, such as masturbation, lesbian relationships, abortion, adultery, and narcissistic self-love feature in many of her works.

In the cultural market of 1990s China, Lin Bai's work enjoyed commercial success but also suffered from reductive reading, both because of its "sexual appeal" and bowdlerization by its publishers. A War of One's Own, for example, has been crudely edited to emphasize its sexual content, and several editions now circulate.


  • A War of One's Own (1994)
  • Watching the Empty Years Pass By (1995)
  • Fatal Flight (1995)
  • Speaking, My Room (1997)
  • The Records of Women's Gossip


  1. ^ a b c d Edward L. Davis (10 September 2012). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture. Taylor & Francis. pp. 468–. ISBN 978-0-415-24129-8. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b Lily Xiao Hong Lee; Clara Wing-chung Ho (2003). 中國婦女傳記詞典: The Twentieth Century, 1912–2000. M.E. Sharpe. pp. 327–. ISBN 978-0-7656-0798-0. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  3. ^ Li-Hua Ying (2010). Historical Dictionary of Modern Chinese Literature. Scarecrow Press. pp. 108–. ISBN 978-0-8108-5516-8. Retrieved 31 December 2012.