Zhang Jie, Novelist
Italian Embassy Residence
Sanlitun 2 Dong Er Jie
Zhang Jie, one of China's foremost female novelists, will talk to BIS about her work and outstanding issues in contemporary Chinese fiction. Zhang Jie has just completed her magnum opus, Without Words, a partly autobiographical epic that spans the length of the 20th century in China.
Zhang Jie 's road to literary fame was paved by all the upheavals of China's contemporary history. Despite her love for literature and widespread culture in both western and Chinese classics, Zhang Jie graduated from Beijing University with a degree in economics and was soon assigned a job with the Ministry of Machine Building. The Cultural Revolution further delayed her dedication to writing. In 1968, she was sent to work on a prison farm in the province of Jiangxi, tending pigs and working on rice paddies.
In 1979, with the end of the Cultural Revolution, Zhang Jie published her novel Love Must Not Be Forgotten, winning a prestigious book award. The novel tells the story of an unrequited love that becomes the emotional reference point of a lifetime. This is followed by the publication of Heavy Wings in 1980, a novel about the modernization of China and The Ark (1981) a saga about the daily turmoil's of three professional women, separated from their husband. The publication of The Ark gave Zhang Jie recognition as a feminist novelist.
In her conference for BIS, Zhang Jie will talk about her most recent work but will also deal with such themes as the role of subjectivity in current Chinese fiction, the meaning of the wave of nostalgia which seems to have permeated artistic creation in the 90's and finally her views on the role and meaning of being an engaged intellectual today.