Shi Tiesheng

One of the best Chinese prose essayist

Shi Tiesheng (1951-2010) was one of the most prominent Chinese writers of the second half of the 20th century. Born in Beijing in 1951, he attended Tsinghua University High School before being sent down to Yan’an, Shaanxi province as part of the Cultural Revolution campaign to re-educate urban youths in the countryside. An injury to his spine in 1971 left him paralysed from the waist down. On returning to Beijing, he wrote as a way to process his grief and explore the world.

His first work of fiction was published in 1979, and he went on to write a number of acclaimed books, including Notes On Principles and several short story and essay collections. Shi’s 1985 novella Like a Banjo String was turned into a film by the acclaimed director Chen Kaige. In January 2018 The Complete Works of Shi Tiesheng was published by Beijing Publishing House, comprising twelve volumes of his novels, short stories, essays, scripts, poetry, letters and interview transcripts. His essay The Temple of Earth and I is considered a masterpiece and is taught throughout schools in China.