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Young Writers' Background
Special> Youth Literature Enchantment> Young Writers' Background
UPDATED: July 1, 2009 Web Exclusive
Li Shasha

Li Shasha is the pen name of Pu Lizi. He was born in Longhui, Hunan Province in November 1981. Li participated in Mo Shen Literary Association in high school, and he majored in Chinese at Northwest University, based in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province. After graduating in 2004, Li began work at Nanfang Daily Press.Known as "young Shen Congwen," a well-known literary figure in modern Chinese history, Li has published a novel, Red X (Hong X), and a collection of essays, Those Who Are Regarded as Ghosts (Bei Dang Zuo Gui De Ren).

Li is one of the outstanding "post-80s" writers. His work has been published in prestigious literary magazines like Lotus, Essay, Works, as well as the Web portals Sina.com, NetEase and the popular Internet forum Tianya Club. In March 2004, Li was named one of the top five "post-80s" writers by the Guangzhou-based Yangcheng Evening News, topping a list that included such big names as Han Han, Chun Shu and GuoJingming.

In June 2005, Li as another "post-80s " writer following Chun Shu and Han Han appeared on the American news magazine, Time. Comparing with the rebellious attitudes in Chun Shu and Han Han's works, Li pays much more attention to Chinese farmer and their working experience in big cities. And it is just this special aspect of his articles that attracts Time and all the readers as well. Because Li refers to the rural migrants as "ghosts in the city," Time called him "a ghost writer."

As the only one of the "post-80s" writers to grow up in the countryside, Li views the society from different angles and tells the story differently. He does not simply criticize or praise the rural life; rather, he is just an honest teller who tells what happens around himself through his own eyes. One reader said," Reading Li Shasha's book, I see the life and dream of the youth in Chinese village, which we have ignored for a long time." And someone even believes that this young writer from beautiful and mysterious Xiangxi, an autonomous prefecture in western Hunan Province, overshadowed all other "post-80s" writers.

The Flower City, a literary magazine based in Guangzhou, published Li's novel Red X on its forth issue in 2004, which was the first time that the work of "post-80s " writers had appeared on a well-known literary magazine and signaled the launch of these young writers. When The Flower City Publishing House published Red X in book form in July 2004, the first 200,000 copies quickly sold out. The next month, Orient Press published his collection of essays, Those Who Are Regarded as Ghosts with 60,000 copies. In 2005 Red X was nominated for the Third Media Award for Chinese Language Literature. (The award, together with Mao Dun Literary Press and Lu Xun Literary Award, was regarded as the most important literature award in China).

Red X is about a teenager named Shen Shengtie. It vividly describes the teenager's unsteady spiritual and physical life. While the charater has many problems, Li chose not to use the rebellious narrative style, and tells the story sincerely. And although the story does not have a happy ending, Li refrains from using lowery language. Instead, he shows readers love, youth and vitality. Li peppers his works with Internet slang and the idiom used by ordinary people. All these special characteristics make Li quite distinctive from other post-80s writers.

(Translated by LIU FANGFEI)


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