Life of Discovery 2011 文化探寻

In its third year, Life of Discovery continued its series of collaborative ventures. The 2011 installment, the first to be conducted primarily in English, opened with encounters in Beijing and the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of China between June 24 and July 4, and continued in the U.S. between October 9 and 18.


Chinese Participants

Baoerjin Na, born in 1984, received a degree in Fashion Design from the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, and earned a Diploma of Advanced Literary Arts from the Lu Xun Institute of Literature. An award-winning essayist, she published her first collection, Cheng Ren Bu Yi, in 1999, and her next, Beiling Street 13, in 2002. Her novel Zi Ming Hong Ling, published in 2007, was selected for the national library’s Reading China: 500 Novels for 60 Years of Modern Chinaproject.

Chun Sue (birth name: Zou Nan), born in Shandong Province in 1983, lives in Beijing and is a frequent contributor to the magazine Xin Zhoukan. Her novels include Beijing Wawa (published in the US as Beijing Doll), Changda Bantian de Huanle [Fun and Games], 2 Tiao Ming [The Hard Task of Living], Hong Haizi [Red Children], and Guangnian zhi Meiguo Meng [Light Year’s American Dreams]. She has published two collections of essays, Tai Tou Wangjian Beidouxing [The Vain Above] and Ta Jiao Chunshu [Her Name is Chun Sue], and her poetry has been anthologized. In 2010 she was named one of Cosmopolitan’s “Women Beyond the Dream.”

Ou Xiaoou, born in 1984, received a degree in Chinese Language and Literature from Sichuan University, and an M.A. in Women’s Studies from the University of Limerick in Ireland. She does research work in gender and development at the Institute of Sociology, Yunnan Province Academy. Her first collection of essays was published in 2002 when she was 17. In 2007 she published her second collection of essays, many of which have been reprinted by leading magazines.

Yuan Ping, an Associate Professor at Nanchang University, began writing fiction in 2002. Since then she has published a plethora of short fiction, including “The Nagato Fu,” for which she won the 2004 Shanghai Literary Prize and the 2004 Jiangxi’s Grain Rain Award. Both of her novellas, [Zheng Xiu's Opera] and [The Dagger], were honored by the Chinese Society of Fiction.


U.S. Participants

Patricia Foster, the author of the memoir All the Lost Girls, the essay collection Just beneath My Skin and editor of Minding the Body: Women Writers on Body and Soul (also published in Germany, Holland and Brazil) and Sister-to-Sister, is a professor in the MFA Program in Nonfiction at the University of Iowa; she has also taught in Montpelier, Prague, Barcelona, and Florence. Her 2011 novel, Girl from Soldier Creek, won the Fred Bonnie Award; A co-edited anthology, Understanding the Essay, will appear in 2012. Foster won the PEN/Jerard Prize in nonfiction for All the Lost Girls as well as the Mary Roberts Rinehart Prize for Women’s Nonfiction. She has received fellowships from The University of Iowa, the Yaddo Colony and the Virginia Center for the Arts.

Joyelle McSweeney, teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Notre Dame, and is co-founder of Action Books and Action, Yes, a press and web-quarterly for international writing and hybrid forms, as well as of the collective culture blog Montevidayo. She is the author of five books, including The Necropastoral (2011), essays and poems; the lyric novels Flet (2008) and Nylund the Sarcographer (2007), and the poetry collections The Commandrine (2004) and The Red Bird (2001). She writes regular reviews for the American Book Review and Boston Review. A new volume of poems and plays, Percussion Grenade, and a new prose volume, Salamandrine, 8 Gothics, are forthcoming in 2012.

Nami Mun, an assistant professor of creative writing at Columbia College in Chicago, grew up in Seoul, South Korea and Bronx, New York. For her first novel, Miles from Nowhere, she received a Whiting Award and a Pushcart Prize, and was shortlisted for the Asian American Literary Award as well as the UK’s Orange Award. Miles From Nowhere was also named as Editors’ Choice and Top Ten First Novels by Booklist; Best Fiction of 2009 So Far by Amazon; and as an Indie Next Pick. Chicago Magazine named her Best New Novelist of 2009. Her stories have been published in numerous journals, including Granta, Tin House, The Iowa Review, and The Pushcart Prize Anthology.

Jen Silverman, born in the U.S., was raised in America, Europe, and Asia. She received her BA from Brown University and her MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop. Her plays have been developed with New Georges in NYC, The Lark Playwrights Week, The Seven Devils Playwrights Conference/ id Theater, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the New York Stage & Film/ Powerhouse Theatre Company, the hotINK International Festival (NYC), and The Playwrights Realm (NYC). Her work has been produced in the NYC International Fringe Festival, in Albuquerque, Seattle, DC, and LA. A short play of hers won the 2009 Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Play Festival and was published by Samuel French. This fall, her play “Crane Story” will premiere off-Broadway with The Playwrights Realm.

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