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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Find 'true life' in literature

“It's in literature that true life can be found. It's under the mask of fiction that you can tell the truth.” – Gao Xingjian

Born in China on this date in 1940, Nobel Prize-winning writer and critic Gao is now a naturalized French citizen who makes his home in Paris.  He is also a noted translator (particularly of Samuel Beckett and Eugène Ionesco), and a screenwriter, stage director, and celebrated painter.  

Known as a pioneer of absurdist drama in China, where Signal Alarm and Bus Stop 1983) were produced during his term as resident playwright at the Beijing People's Art Theatre from 1981 to 1987. Influenced by European theatrical models, it gained him a reputation as an avant-garde writer.    After his early successes, he started writing plays that criticized the government’s policies, ultimately leading to his move to France.              
                                       Gao said he feels that many writers “simply have to believe in themselves” in order to  carry on with what they are doing, even when they are receiving little support for their efforts.   “In the history of literature there are many great enduring works which were not published in the lifetimes of the authors,” he explained.   “If the authors had not achieved self-affirmation while writing, how could they have continued to write?”

“When you use words, you're able to keep your mind alive,” Gao said.   “Writing is my way of reaffirming my own existence.”

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