Lin Bai was born in Beiliu County, Guangxi Province in January 1958. She graduated from the Department of Library Science of Wuhan University in 1982, and has worked at Guangxi Library, Guangxi Film Studio, China Culture Newspaper, and Wuhan Wenlian. She began publishing works in 1982 and joined the Chinese Writers Association in 1992. She now lives in Beijing and is a freelance writer. Her novels include A War of One's Own, Speaking, My Room, Wanwu Huakai, The Records of Women’s Gossip, Letters from the North, and so on, and the prose collection Lin Bai’s Prose and The Lin Bai Collection (Four Volumes), a total of more than 40 works published that also came out in French, Italian, Korean and Japanese. The novel The Records of Women’s Gossip was awarded the 2004 novelist award in the Chinese Literature Media Awards. To the North was nominated for the 9th Mao Dun Literary Award.
The works of female writers such as Lin Bai and Chen Ran formed the creative trend of “feminist literature” in the history of contemporary Chinese literature. Her works are often told in the form of memories, with strong feminine awareness, extreme descriptions of women’s personal experiences, the telling of absolutely personal stories, and are good at capturing the complex subtle surges in women’s hearts.
Lin Bai’s magnum opus A War of One's Own is a long novel with considerable autobiographical elements. Through this novel, Lin Bai intended to summarize her early life and creative experiences and consider the price a woman must pay for her writing. The entire book comes from Lin Bai, a five-or-six-year-old narrator who learns about her own body for the first time by touching herself. In the story, she describes her childhood learning experiences, her original creative ambitions, her wandering adventures, her frustrations in love the sadness of being forced to have an abortion and more. In the end, the narrator moves from her hometown to the capital Beijing. The narrator, who had “escaped with death and arrived through resurrection” writes eloquently, which gives the novel a straightforward and moving power. The novel traverses the whole world with the narrative voice of “I”, but the writer sometimes uses the third-person view and looks at the unfortunate meeting of a woman named Domi. “I” and Domi represent the different identities of Lin Bai – the identities of past and present, fiction and reality, inner and outer, flesh and blood and ghosts, love and loved ones.
The theme of splitting, a flowing perspective, and diverse voices have made A War of One's Own the blueprint of Chinese feminist literary creation in the 1990s. In The Records of Women’s Gossip, Lin Bai uncovered the unknown side of what we seem to know about the countryside. For example, women like Ms. Muzhen, who said that she had pain in her heart, the days of most people around her, and even the days of desperation in the countryside, how to play cards, and how to be a mistress. From this we can see the feelings of some people’s hearts, which come from the history of the mind. Lin Bai has opened up a new perspective for readers to view the world. Her works have returned to the very existence of life and have opened up the realities of life that are very strange to us.
To the North is the most rich and complex work of Lin Bai. She describes the experiences and spiritual growth of two women from two generations with different levels of knowledge on a journey from the South to Beijing on a grand scale and from a unique perspective. She uses these two characters to record the changes of an era.