Yilin Zhong

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Yilin Zhong
Yilin Zhong in 2014
Born China
Occupation Novelist, Screenwriter, Journalist, Radio Presenter, Poet, Literary and Drama Critic
Education MA in Cultural Studies, BA in Drama
Alma mater Central Academy of Drama, University of Warwick
Period 1981–present
Genre Literary Fiction

Yilin Zhong (simplified Chinese: 钟宜霖; traditional Chinese: 鍾宜霖) is a British Chinese writer born in China, an award-winning journalist, screenwriter and No.3 Amazon (China) bestselling author,[1] known as one of the leading contemporary women writers[2] of the Chinese Post 70s Generation.[3] She is the author of sixteen novels, two film screenplays, ten books and many other works; she also wrote poems and literary reviews. She now lives in London.[4]

Early life[edit]

Yilin Zhong was born in China and began to learn writing words from her grandmother at the age of two. Her father was a literary editor at China Federation of Literary and Art Union in Beijing, however was exiled to south west China as miner during the Cultural Revolution. Zhong wrote her first poem at five which was published when she was seven,[5] and she started to write short stories at twelve, which was released in Shanghai Youth Literature. At thirteen, Zhong wrote a research thesis 'Who broke up the wood-stone engagement?' and it was released in the academic journal A Dream of Red Mansions Journal[6] in 1993.

At fourteen, Zhong wrote her first full-length novel "Embracing the Sun", which was not published, and then she wrote her second novel "Sunshine and the Monsoon" at sixteen, which was published in 1995 and won her national reputation as the youngest talented writer;[7] Zhong was interviewed by CCTV's Book Review.[8] In 1992 Zhong received an Award voted by national readers, for a short story released in Shanghai Youth Literature, as the "Best Work of The Year".

At the age of sixteen, Zhong successfully passed the most highly competitive exams and interviews from three best Art Academies in China: Central Academy of Drama, Beijing Film Academy and Beijing Broadcasting and Television University; she achieved No.1 at Beijing Broadcasting and Television University, and received the highest mark 90 (of 100) in the final interview at Central Academy of Drama. Zhong decided to go to the Central Academy of Drama and study Drama Literature and Play Writing, while she also passed the exam for the Play Director department.[1]


Yilin Zhong was educated in The Central Academy of Drama at Beijing, China, and achieved a distinction BA degree in Drama Literature and Playwriting.

In 2002, Zhong came to the UK and achieved her MA degree in Cultural Studies from the University of Warwick.[9] Afterward she immigrated to the UK and has been living in London.[4]


Yilin Zhong started her creative literary writing when she was five. In 1995, she published her first novel "Sunshine and the Monsoon"(under pen-name '鍾鲲') and became a well-known talented young writer and a 'rising star'[10] in China. In 1996 She was interviewed by the CCTV(China Central TV Station)'s Book Review program as its youngest writer interviewed, and was called 'hugely successful and notable'.[11] From 1995 to 2002, while Zhong was at Beijing, she was working for Beijing TV station, Beijing Broadcasting station and various magazines and newspapers,[12] published five books, including three novels, one essays and one short stories collection.[11] Zhong was ironically listed in 'Top 10 most beautiful Chinese women writers online' together with Wei Hui and Mian Mian by internet readers[13] (although she said it was 'totally a misunderstanding'[14]), and become an iconic figure of 'New Women' writers of the 'Post 70s Generation' in China.[3] Meanwhile, she also became a successful journalist[15] and received a National Award for her exceptional contribution on reporting the IT technology blooming in China. Zhong wrote a film script "Sunshine and the Monsoon" (adapted from her own novel) at the age of nineteen and won the Excellence Award for Chinese Youth Film Script in 1996.[16] Her translation work "In a Station of the Metro"(Ezra Pound) was collected into Chinese national high school's Literature Textbook[17] and Chinese universities' textbook for American Literature.[18][19] Her letter to editor was published in 'One person's Literary History'(by Cheng Yongxin, Editor-in-chief of Harvest Literary Magazine) as one of writers' documentaries in contemporary Chinese literature.[20] Before coming to the UK, Zhong was one of notable contemporary women writers in China,[21] and was known as one of leading women writers in the 'Post 70s Generation' writers,[22] among all Chinese women writers whom 'supported half sky of Chinese literature' [2] in the 20th century.

After immigrating to the UK in 2002, Zhong has been living in London anonymously and continued writing fictions, essays, drama criticism, etc. In an online news, Zhong said she had decided that she would never work in mass media again after 'working as a journalist in media industry for years' in China, because 'to report news in China', was 'completely a challenge of humanity's conscience and the bottom line'.[23] This may have explained why Zhong has completely vanished from media from 2002 to 2015, and has not had any interviews for a dozen years when living in London, while continuing writing and publishing novels and books in Chinese language.

"London Single Diary"(2009) was her first series writing written in the UK and published in China, the twin work "London Love Story"(2010) peaked at #3 in the Amazon Bestselling Fiction List and sold out its first edition within three weeks, and then constantly staying on the bestselling list more than 40 weeks.[24] Her novel "Chinatown"(written in 2005 at London) was released in "Harvest" in 2011, which gathered American Chinese writer Ha Jin, British Chinese writer Yilin Zhong, and Taiwanese writer Qi Bang Yuan's works as a 'Special Issue of Oversea-Chinese Writers', and sold out in three months.[25] In 2012, Zhong translated "The Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Award Ceremony Speech"(Awarded to Mo Yan) into Chinese and published in China,[26] which was the only complete full version released in China without official abridgment. Zhong attended the London Book Fair in 2012 and met many Beijing writer friends, such as the Vice Editor-in-chief of People's Literature and Pathlight magazines, whom recalled their friendship in Beijing in his published London Diaries.[27] Zhong also wrote London drama reviews for Chinese newspapers and National Drama Study,[28] and was cited by "Shakespeare beyond English" published in the UK.[29] In 2013, her novel "Personal Statement"(written in 2000 at Beijing) was published in Shanghai, and was recommended by Swedish Taiwanese writer Wenfen CHEN-MALMQVIST (Sinologist Göran Malmqvist's wife), whom commented that "her 23-year-old thought seems even more fulfilling than my 40 years' life".[30]

In 2013, Zhong joint a reality dating TV show of Channel 4 and appeared on First Dates as herself. This was her first public appearance in the UK and she became the TV advertising model in its first season.[31] In 2014, Harvest published the Kindle version of "Chinatown",[25] which peaked at #1 at the Amazon's Paid Kindle Bestselling Literary Fiction list within one week;[32] then the paperback edition was published in 2015,[33] and was appraised to have filled the "remarkable blank space of illegal immigration in contemporary Chinese literature history" (Editor's Review).[8] In March 2015, Yilin Zhong had her first interview since 2002 with Harvest literary magazine for her new book 'Chinatown', and the interviewer recommended that "one of this literary work's very great significance", is that "it has changed our understanding of the world".[32]

Based in London, Zhong’s "Chinatown" is a novel based on the lives of Chinese illegal immigrants in the UK. She tells of stowaways from the rural counties of China’s southern provinces; down-and-out adult children of Chinese high-ranking officials and the children of China’s nouveau riche who dropped out at boarding school due to a lack of parental guidance. In a recent English interview she said:'I meant the book to evoke a positive change in the minds of people who see illegal immigrants as being inferior, and thus ignore their very existence. All the characters in my book are fictional but they all come from real examples of what is actually happening. It is important to know there is another life in Chinatown, other than it only being a cultural name.'[4]

Up until 2017, Zhong has published ten books including eight novels, and nine sold out. In November 2015, she took a trip to New York, and then she started to write her first novel in English: Dear New York,(1-4); Book 1-3 was written between Dec 2015 and March 2016 in London,[34] and Book 4 was completed in May 2016 in New York. She also sketched a new fiction 'Miss China' and a non-fiction 'Folks of New York' in the summer at Manhattan, and then wrote her first collection of poems in English after coming back to London in the fall of 2016. Her novel 'In London'(twin-work of 'Personal Statement') was signed to be published in China in August 2017, twelve years after it was written in 2005 in London.[35]


Work written in China (1990-2002)[edit]

Work written in the UK (2002-2012)[edit]

Work in progress (2012 – present)[edit]


Written in Chinese and Published in China


  1. ^ a b "People: Chinese Writer Yilin Zhong exploring love in London/人物特写:在伦敦寻找爱情的华人女作家钟宜霖" (in Chinese). BBC. 4 August 2015. Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Half scene and half sky--women's writing research_China Book News/半边风景半边天—漫谈女性写作_中华读书报" (in Chinese). Sohu News/搜狐新闻. 29 Nov 2001. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  3. ^ a b 李师东 (11 April 2001). "One hundred reasons of being youth_China Book News/一百个年轻的理由_中华读书报" (in Chinese). Guangming Net/光明网. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Chinatown's Invisible Residents". Shanghai Daily. 30 August 2015. 
  5. ^ "Zhongkun_news_society-hot/钟鲲-资讯-资讯热点" (in Chinese). Hanwang Book City/汉王书城. 22 Nov 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "A Dream of Red Mansions Journal/红楼梦学刊" (in Chinese). 1993. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Writing the memory of youth_China Book News/书写青春记忆_中华读书报" (in Chinese). Guangming Net/光明网. 11 April 2001. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "The Postmodern Chinese living in their imagination-'Chinatown' Introduction and Book Review/《唐人街》:在伦敦的中国人" (in Chinese). China Writer Net/中国作家网. 2 March 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "Warwick Classnotes". Warwick. Retrieved 10 Feb 2016. 
  10. ^ Frank Meinshausen (6 Dec 2004). "I do not select Wang Shuo_Ouline online/我不选王朔!-欧览在线" (in Chinese). Suhrkamp. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  11. ^ a b 洛希 (March 2007). "Yilin Zhong, A single girl in London_Beatles Magazine/钟宜霖,单身女人在伦敦_《甲壳虫》" (in Chinese). China Knowledge Net/中国知网. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "National Love_Eastern News Daily/倾国之恋-东方早报" (in Chinese). Eastern News Daily/东方早报. 28 July 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  13. ^ 燕山飘雪 (31 Oct 2005). "Online literature research_Literary channel/网络文学理论漫谈(总论)-文学频道" (in Chinese). Hongxiutianxiang Net/红袖添香. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  14. ^ 刘久立 (18 April 2001). "Beauty writer Zhongkun_Contemporary writers_Literary masters/美女作家钟鲲_当代作家_文艺名家" (in Chinese). People's Net/人民网. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  15. ^ "Discover Zhongkun's literary sky_TV interview record_CCTV/感受钟鲲的文字天空_采访记录_中央电视台" (in Chinese). CCTV. 17 Dec 2001. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  16. ^ "Yilin Zhong_Baike/钟宜霖_百科" (in Chinese). Baidu Baike/百度百科. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  17. ^ a b "Translations of Pound's 'In a Station of the Metro'_New Textbook People's Education Edition_Obligatory 1 teaching plan/庞德《地铁车站》的诸种译文_新课标人教版_必修1教案课件" (in Chinese). Chinese textbook room/语文轩. 24 April 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  18. ^ a b "Selected Readings in American Literature/《美国文学选读(第3版)》-普通高等教育"十一五"国家级规划教材" (in Chinese). Higher Education Publishing House/高等教育出版社. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  19. ^ "The Directory and Content of Selected Readings in American Literature/《美国文学选读(第3版)》目录内容" (in Chinese). Higher Education Publishing House/高等教育出版社. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  20. ^ 程永新 (1 Oct 2007). "One Person's Literary History/《一个人的文学史》" (in Chinese). Tianjing Renminmeishu Publishing House/天津人民美术出版社. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  21. ^ "Post 70s generation's text_Youth News/70年代生青年作家群的情感文本_《青年时讯》" (in Chinese). China.com.cn/中國網. 24 May 2001. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  22. ^ "New generation's writing_Cultural Friday_China.com.cn/新生代寫作的優勢與局限_文化星期五_中國網" (in Chinese). Beijing Daily/《北京日报》. 29 Nov 2000. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  23. ^ "CCTV producer wrote 'leaving CCTV'/央视制片人撰《告别央视》撼动网络" (in Chinese). 大紀元/Epoch Times. 2 Dec 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  24. ^ "Amazon bestselling fiction list in Jan-Aug 2010/亚马逊2010年1-8月小说畅销榜" (in Chinese). Amazon.cn/中国亚马逊. Sep 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  25. ^ a b "Harvest-No.21 Novel issue/收获-长篇专号第二十一期-收获-齐邦媛-哈金-抗凝-钟宜霖" (in Chinese). Harvest literary magazine/《收获》文学杂志社. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  26. ^ a b 叶开 (1 Feb 2013). "Mo Yan's Literary Republic/《莫言的文学共和国》" (in Chinese). Beijing University Press/北京大学出版社. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  27. ^ 邱华栋 (January 2014). "London Book Fair's 7 days Diaries/《伦敦书展七日记》" (in Chinese). Fiction Forest/小说林. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  28. ^ a b 钟宜霖 (30 May 2012). "London Theater: Chinese 'Richard III'/在伦敦观剧:中国版《理查三世》·南方日报数字报·南方报网" (in Chinese). Southern News Daily/南方日报. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  29. ^ Bennett, Susan; Carson, Christie (2013-08-29). Shakespeare beyond English: A Global Experiment. Cambridge University Press. p. 80. ISBN 9781107435476. 
  30. ^ "Personal Statement/北京北京_钟宜霖_图书" (in Chinese). Shanghai Literary Publishing House/上海文艺出版社. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  31. ^ "First dates-Mating Season-Channel 4". Channel 4. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  32. ^ a b 党霄羽 (1 March 2015). "Dialogue: Exploring the value of literature in contemporary time through characters' various lives in 'Chinatown'/对话: 从《唐人街》的众生百态看现世中文学的价值" (in Chinese). Harvest Literary Magazine/《收获》文学杂志社. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  33. ^ a b Editor's Review/编辑推荐 (1 January 2015). "Chinatown/《唐人街》" (in Chinese). Jiangsu Phoenix Literary Publishing House/江苏凤凰文艺出版社. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  34. ^ a b Yilin Zhong (29 November 2015). "Dear New York,- Trail Edition/《亲爱的纽约》试读版(英语)". Kindle. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  35. ^ "钟宜霖的博客" (in Chinese). Retrieved 20 May 2016. 
  36. ^ 石康 (4 Feb 2002). "Dance in front the bookshop/书店门口的街舞" (in Chinese). Yiwen Net/易文网. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  37. ^ "City Inside Roses_baike/《玫瑰深处的城市》_百度百科" (in Chinese). Hainan Publishing House/海南出版社. April 2001. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  38. ^ Editor's Review/编辑推荐 (3 July 2010). "London Love Story_Book Review/《伦敦爱情故事》-书评·书情" (in Chinese). 新京报. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  39. ^ Yilin Zhong (16 December 2013). "London Party Season-Trail Edition/《伦敦派对季节》试读版(英语)". Kindle. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]