Wang Anyi

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Wang Anyi
Born March 1954 (age 61)
Nanjing, China
Occupation Novelist
Language Chinese
Nationality Chinese
Alma mater Xiangming Middle School
Period 1978-present
Genre Novel, prose
Literary movement Xungen movement
Notable works The Song of Everlasting Sorrow
Notable awards 4th Shanghai Literary and Art Award
1998 The Song of Everlasting Sorrow
5th Mao Dun Literature Prize
2000 The Song of Everlasting Sorrow
2nd Hong Kong The Dream of the Red Chamber Award
2008 The Age of Enlightenment
4th Hong Kong The Dream of the Red Chamber Award
2012 Tianxiang
Relatives Father: Wang Xiaoping (王啸平)
Mother: Ru Zhijuan
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Wang.
Wang Anyi
Traditional Chinese 王安憶
Simplified Chinese 王安忆

Wang Anyi (born in Nanjing in 1954) is a Chinese writer who is the chairwoman of Writers' Association of Shanghai.[1]


The daughter of a famous writer and member of the Communist Party, Ru Zhijuan, and a father who was denounced as a Rightist when she was three years old, Wang Anyi writes that she "was born and raised in a thoroughfare, Huaihai Road." Due to the Cultural Revolution, she was not permitted to continue her education beyond junior high school. Instead, at age fifteen, she was assigned to be a farm labourer to a commune in Anhui, an impoverished province near the Huai River, which was plagued by famine.

Transferred in 1972 to a cultural troupe in Xuzhou, she began to publish short stories in 1976. One story that grew out of this experience, "Life In a Small Courtyard", recounts the housekeeping details, marriage customs, and relationships of a group of actors assigned to a very limited space where they live and rehearse between their professional engagements. She was permitted to return home to Shanghai in 1978 to work as an editor of the magazine Childhood. In 1980 she received additional professional training from the China Writers Association, and her fiction achieved national prominence, winning literary award in China. Her most famous novel, The Song of Everlasting Sorrow, traces the life story of a young Shanghainese girl from the 1940s all the way till her death after the Cultural Revolution. Although the book was published in 1995, it is already considered by many[who?] as a modern classic.[citation needed] Wang is often compared with another female writer from Shanghai, Eileen Chang, as both of their stories are often set in Shanghai, and give vivid and detailed descriptions of the city itself.[citation needed]

A novella and six of her stories have been translated and collected in an anthology, Lapse of Time. In his preface to that collection, Jeffrey Kinkley notes that Wang is a realist whose stories "are about everyday urban life" and that the author "does not stint in describing the brutalising density, the rude jostling, the interminable and often futile waiting in line that accompany life in the Chinese big city". In March 2008, her book The Song of Everlasting Sorrow was translated into English.[2]

In 2011, Wang Anyi was nominated to win the Man Booker International Prize.[3]


  • Lapse of Time (Chinese: 蒲公英) (1988)
  • Love in a Small Town (Chinese: 小城之戀) (1988)
  • Love on a Barren Mountain (Chinese: 荒山之戀) (1988)
  • Baotown (Chinese: 小鮑莊) (1989)
  • The Song of Everlasting Sorrow (Chinese: 长恨歌) (1995)

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "Wang Anyi, a Female Writer of Constant Innovations". Retrieved 2009. 
  2. ^ Anyi, Wang; Michael Berry (Translator), Susan Chan Egan (Translator) (January 30, 2008). The Song of Everlasting Sorrow. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-14342-7. 
  3. ^ "Three Asian authors make the Man Booker International Prize shortlist". Asia Pacific Arts. 04/05/2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • WANG, Anyi International Who's Who. accessed September 1, 2006. (Requires subscription)