YU Hua (余华)

  • Asia
  • Eastern Asia
  • China

YU Hua / 余华 (novelist; China b. 1960, Hangzhou) published his first book in 1984, Shibasui Chumen Yuanxing (Leaving Home at Eighteen) which was followed by several more novels and collections of short stories and essays, most notably, Huo Zhe (To Live), made into a film by renowned director Zhang Yimou, winning  the Grand Jury Prize and Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival in 1994. Trained as a dentist, Yu Hua left the profession after five years to become a writer. His works have been translated into numerous languages; To Live (Random House, trans. Michael Berry) appeared in English in 2003, followed by Chronicle of a Blood Merchant (Pantheon, trans. Andrew F. Jones) also in 2003. Considered avant-garde and controversial, his fictions place him in the forefront of China's literary scene. He will be participating courtesy of The University of Iowa Chinese Community.

Happening Now

  • Just completed: “Sense of Belonging,” a bilingual Iowa City + Paris-based podcast series commissioned by Walid Rachedi and produced by NFW grad students in both cities, with support of the US Embassy in Paris.

  • Word has just reached us of the sudden death, in his hometown Gdańsk, of the novelist, poet, essayist, and playwright Paweł Huelle. RIP.

  • “I regret that poems can’t serve as witnesses in military tribunals; they can only testify in the court of history,” writes Iya Kiva in an essay for the project “War Is… Ukrainian Writers on Living Through Catastrophe.”

  • Congratulations to novelists Mansoura Ez-Eldin and Taleb Al-Refai for placing on the 2023 finalist list of the prestigious Prix de la littérature arabe.


  • Samuel Kolawole’s first novel, The Road to the Salt Sea, is announced for a July 2024 release.

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