Host: Sabine Peschel (sinologist and editor, Deutsche Welle, Bonn)
Gao Xingjian is the only Chinese winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature to give a reading in this series.
Gao Xingjian was born in 1940 in Ganzhou (in the province of Jiangxi) in Eastern China. In 1962 he was forced to abandon his studies in French literature at the Institute for Foreign Languages during the Cultural Revolution and made to undergo ‘re-education’ in the countryside for the next twenty years. In 1980, four years after Mao’s death, the first of Gao Xingjian’s works were published: in his essay "A Preliminary Discussion of the Art of Modern Fiction" and the play "The Warning Signal" he advocated circumspect acceptance of western literary models. Many of his stories were written during this period. It was with his next play, "The Bus Station", which was influenced by the theatre of the absurd, that he experienced a breakthrough. The play was banned. He became the target of a political campaign and retired to the countryside. After receiving a DAAD scholarship, he came to Berlin where he lived from 1985-1986. In 1987, he left China for good and has lived in Paris ever since. Following the events at Tiananmen Square, he left the Party. As a result, his works were banned completely in China. In 1992, he completed the novel "Soul Mountain" in Paris, followed by the novel "One Man’s Bible" in 1999. He has written his most recent plays in French. In 1998, he became a French citizen. In 1992, he was awarded the Chevalier de l´Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, followed by the Nobel Prize for Literature in the year 2000.
- The Other Shore. Plays. Incl. Nocturnal Wanderer (Chinese University Press 2001)
- Soul Mountain. Novel (Flamingo, 2001)
- The Voice of the Individual. (Stockholm Journal of East Asian Studies 6, 1995)
- One Man’s Bible (Harper Perennial, 2003)