Jia Pingwa. Male. Original name Jia Pingwa (different character for wa). Jia Pingwa was born in the town of Lihua in Danfeng county in the city of Shangluo in Shaanxi province in February 1952. Jia Pingwa serves as Vice Chairman of the China Writer’s Association and as a Deputy to the National People’s Congress. He graduated from Northwest University’s Chinese Department in 1975. In 2017 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Macau. His signature works include Restless, Deserted Capital,Shanxi Opera, and Old Furnace. Among these, Shanxi Opera won the Seventh Annual Mao Dun Literay Prize. Jia Pingwa is a “clever writer adept at being humorous without revealing any traces of it” (an appraisal by writer Wang Meng). Many of his works have been translated into multiple languages including English, French, Russian, Japanese, and Korean, and published overseas.
Jia Pingwa has written many novels with China’s Shangzhou region as their backdrop. These novels have been called the “Shangzhou Series”. Jia Pingwa’s novels have a strong historical and generational sense, and always mirror huge historical changes and the turmoil in people’s hearts during revolutions via tiny, local phenomenon. His language possesses the distinct local features of Northwest China, and embodies the unique language, customs, and charming cultural conditions and relationships of the northwestern China region. In the past few years the language of his works have blended in precision, richness, and ambiguity. The structure of his novels embody the characteristics of traditional Chinese novels that have captions for each chapter. His works are integrated from the most detailed to the most generalized descriptions, enriching the internal implications of the stories.
Restless is Jia Pingwa’s first book length novel. It caused a big sensation when it was published, and won America’s Mobil Pegasus Literature Award. The novel gradually unfolds a social picture scroll of Shangzhou that is rich and alive with the protagonist Jin Gou’s life experiences, which are brimming with changes, as clues. Jin Gou experiences life as a farmer, joins the military, demobilizes and returns home, works as a Shanghzou reporter, quits and goes into the transportation business. What is manifested alongside his experiences is the restless state of society at that time. Deserted Capital depicts the life of contemporary intellectuals, and mirrors the modern life of 1980’s China. Under the backdrop of the city of Xi’an, a complicated emotional dispute unfolds between the protagonist Zhuang Zhidie and a few women, and is supplemented with accounts of celebrities like Ruan Zhifei. The four women who have an emotional entanglement with Zhuang Zhidie -- Niu Yueqing, Tang Yuan’er, Liu Yue, and A’Can -- each have different histories and personalities, and reflect the features of different social classes and different groups. One could say it is a cross section of society at that time. The novel’s style is bold and distinctive. It has ‘stand out’ descriptions of sex that garnered attention from all sectors of society. Shanxi Opera realistically and vividly reproduces the acute impact and change that China’s great social transformation had on the countryside via recounting the story of the twenty years of births, deaths, illnesses, old age, joys, and sorrows of Qingfeng Street’s Bai and Xia families, and the panic-stricken and torn souls of the peasantry brought about by the loss of the land and the infighting of the people of Qingfeng town.
In the past few years Jia Pingwa has released important works including Old Furnace, Dai Deng, andJi Hua. Ji Hua tells the story of the experience of an abducted and trafficked girl. The novel initiates its narrative with what the girl sees and feels as clues, vividly and comprehensively mirroring her experience of being abducted and trafficked and her inner torment. At the same time, it displays the situation of the remote mountain region she is trafficked to. Jia Pingwa’s newest novel Yamamoto was published in early 2018. Jia Pingwa is a writer of extremely exuberant creativity rarely seen in the contemporary literary world.