Chen Danyan

Article Works www
crossroads:
children & youth, women
genre(subgenre):
Written and spoken word (general)
region:
Asia, Eastern
country/territory:
China
created on:
April 28, 2005
last changed on:
Please note: This page has not been updated since November 21, 2005. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
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Article

Chen Danyan was born in Shanghai in 1958. From 1978 to 1982 she studied Chinese Literature at the Eastern China Normal University. After her degree she worked as a reporter for the ´Children´s Epoch Magazine´. In 1972, Chen was published in ´Shanghai Youngsters´. Prose published in 1984 won her - among others - the Shanghai Young Writer´s Prize. In 1986, she began work on a theme new to Chinese literature, with short stories focusing on the experiences and feelings of adolescent girls.
With ´Beautiful Sun in Chilly Winter´ (1990), she wrote her first short story for teenagers. Several others followed, including ´Death of a Schoolgirl´, which was chosen as one of the world´s 100 best children´s books by the Japanese Association for Children’s Literature in 1991.

In her scrutiny of the emotional world of teenagers, Chen Danyan´s writings deal critically with China´s official ´one-child´ policy. China´s young generation, the products of single-child homes, was the topic of a radio talkshow run for three months on Shanghai Eastern Radio. A television series entitled ´Single Children´ was launched in 1996. Some 70,000 copies of her documentary book ´The Declaration of Single Children´, published in 1997, were sold on the Chinese mainland. This work was elected Bestseller of the Year.

She believes Shanghai, the ´Paris of the Orient´, is strongly influenced by European culture. Following a visit to Germany in 1992, she travelled throughout Europe, getting to know, as she puts it, the ´real´ Europe, which quite obviously differed from the mental picture she received from literature. She gave her impressions in numerous texts. A trip across the United States (1994) influenced her work, an example being the essay ´New York Holiday´, which she wrote in an Italian café in a small town in New Jersey.

Up until now only her novel ´A Girl´ has been translated into German. It won her the UNESCO Prize for Peace and Tolerance and was nominated for the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (1996). The authoress´ autobiographical novel confronts her personal experiences during the Cultural Revolution in Shanghai in 1966, influenced by an atmosphere of fear and distrust.

Chen Danyan´s most recent work has a documentary character. Her ´Shanghai Memoir´, an essay on Shanghai published in 1998, was awarded China´s Bestseller Award of the Year. ´Shanghai Beauty´ was published in 2000. Danyan lives in Shanghai, is married and has a daughter.
Author: International Festival of Literature Berlin (ilb)

Works

Shanghai: China´s Bridge to the Future

Published Written,
2010
Rhinebeck: New York

Tianshi Duzitong

Published Written,
2003
Wenyichubanshe: Shanghai

Yu he ta de zi xing che

Published Written,
2002
Wenyichubanshe: Shanghai

Shanghai de jin zhi yu ye

Published Written,
2000
Shanghai princess

Niuyue jia ri

Published Written,
1996
New York Holidays

Nü zhong xuesheng zhi si

Published Written,
1991
Yeqiang Chubanshe: Taibei

Death of a Schoolgirl

Published Written,
1990
Fukutake Publishing Co.: Japan

Www

International Festival of Literature Berlin