Wang Anyi was born in Nanjing in 1954 but grew up in Shanghai. She is from the generation of writers whose formal education was disrupted by the Cultural Revolution. At the age of sixteen, she was sent to the Anhui countryside, an area near the Huai River, to learn from the peasants. After the Cultural Revolution she returned to Shanghai in 1978 to work for the magazine Childhood and in 1980 she became a member of the Chinese Association of Writers.
She is among the most widely read and anthologized authors of the post-Mao era, a breaker of taboos and a speaker for China’s younger generation. Among Wang’s acclaimed Shanghai novels is the nostalgic Changhen Ge (The Song of Everlasting Sorrow)(1996). Voted the most influential work of the 1990s in China, it won the fifth Mao Dun Literature Award in 2000, one China’s most prestigious literary prizes. It has been adapted for television, stage and screen. The film, directed by Stanley Kwan, was produced by Jackie Chan. As well as fiction Wang has published essays, journalism, travel writings, literary criticism, and memoirs. In 2001 Wang was elected chairperson of the Shanghai Writers’ Association.
Wang Anyi lives in Shanghai and is a professor of Chinese literature at Fudan University.