Su Tong

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Tong Zhonggui
Native name
BornJanuary 1963 (age 59)
Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
Pen nameSu Tong (苏童)
Alma materBeijing Normal University
Period1980 - present
Notable worksYellowbird Story
Notable awards9th Mao Dun Literature Prize
2015 Yellowbird Story

Tong Zhonggui (Chinese: 童忠贵; pinyin: Tóng Zhōngguì; born January 23, 1963), known by the pen name of Su Tong (苏童; 蘇童; Sū Tóng) is a Chinese writer. He was born in Suzhou and lives in Nanjing.[1]

He entered the Department of Chinese at Beijing Normal University in 1980, and started to publish novels in 1983. He is now vice president of the Jiangsu Writers Association.[2] Known for his controversial writing style, Su is one of the most acclaimed novelists in China.[3]


Su has written seven full-length novels and over 200 short stories, some of which have been translated into English, German, Italian and French.[4]

He is best known in the West for his book Wives and Concubines, published in 1990. The book was adapted into the film, Raise the Red Lantern by director Zhang Yimou. The book has since been published under the name given to the film. His other works available in English translation are Rice, My Life as Emperor, Binu and the Great Wall (tr. Howard Goldblatt), Madwoman on the Bridge and Other Stories, Tattoo: Three Novellas and The Boat to Redemption, also translated by Goldblatt.

His novel Petulia's Rouge Tin (Hongfen in Chinese), about two Shanghai prostitutes at the time of Liberation in 1949, has been adapted to two films: Li Shaohong's Blush (Hongfen, 1994) and Huang Shuqin's Rouged Beauties (Hongfen Jiaren, 1995).[5]

In 2009, he was awarded the Man Asian Literary Prize for his work The Boat to Redemption, the second Chinese writer to win the prize.[6]

In 2011, Su Tong was nominated to win the Man Booker International Prize.[7] In 2015, he was a co-winner of the Mao Dun Literature Prize for Yellowbird Story.[8]

Selected works in translation[edit]

  • Open-Air Cinema: Reminiscences and Micro-Essays from the Author of Raise the Red Lantern. Translators Haiwang Yuan, James Trapp, Nicky Harman, Olivia Milburn. Horsham: Sinoist Books. October 2021. ISBN 9781838905248
  • Shadow of the Hunter. Translator James Trapp. London: ACA Publishing. May 2020. ISBN 9781838905057
  • Petulia's Rouge Tin. Translators Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz. Penguin Specials. 2018.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • Tattoo: Three Novellas. Translator Josh Stenberg. Portland, Me.: MerwinAsia. 2010. ISBN 9780552774543.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • The Boat to Redemption. Translator Howard Goldblatt. London: Black Swan. July 2010. ISBN 9780552774543.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • Binu and the Great Wall of China. Translator Howard Goldblatt. Edinburgh: Canongate Books. August 2009.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • Madwoman on the Bridge. Translator Josh Stenberg. London: Black Swan. August 2008. ISBN 9780552774529.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • My Life as Emperor. Translator Howard Goldblatt. Hyperion East. 2005.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • Rice. Translator Howard Goldblatt. New York: Perennial. 2004. ISBN 0060596325.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • Raise the Red Lantern: Three Novellas. Translator Michael S. Duke. New York: Penguin Books. 1996. ISBN 0140260307.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)


  1. ^ Hua Li, Contemporary Chinese Fiction by Su Tong and Yu Hua: Coming of Age in Troubled Times (BRILL, 2011) p90
  2. ^ "苏童_中国作家网". Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  3. ^[dead link]
  4. ^[dead link]
  5. ^ Davis, Edward L. (2009). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture. Taylor & Francis. p. 790. ISBN 978-0-415-77716-2.
  6. ^ Lam, Tiffany (18 November 2009). "Road to Redemption: Su Tong's literary smash", CNNGo.
  7. ^ "Three Asian authors make the Man Booker International Prize shortlist". Asia Pacific Arts. 04/05/2011. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ "Winners of 2015 Mao Dun Literature Prize announced". GBTimes. August 17, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2015.