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Writer Chen Zhongshi dies at 74

Editor: Wang Xuemeng 丨China.org.cn

04-29-2016 13:58 BJT

Full coverage: Writer Chen Zhongshi Passes Away

Chinese writer Chen Zhongshi died this morning in Xi'an, Shaanxi province. He was 74. His masterpieces include White Deer Plain, which won him China's top literature prize.

Chen Zhongshi. [Photo/Chinanews.com]

Chen Zhongshi. [Photo/Chinanews.com]

Chen was born in June 1942 in Xi'an. He started writing prose in 1965 and finished his magnum opus White Deer Plain in 1992, for which he won the Mao Dun Literature Prize in 1997, one of most prestigious literature prizes in China. With the novel's publication in 1993, Chen shot to fame almost overnight. Critics described his works as a "realistic reflection of Chinese contemporary history."

White Deer Plain, which has sold 1.6 million copies thus far, has been adapted into various art forms including Shaanxi Opera, stage drama, dance drama, comic strips and sculptures. The story tells of the hardships and spiritual pursuits of several generations living on White Deer Plain, mirroring the radical changes that took place in the Chinese countryside over a near-half-century.

"If this novel can arouse the interest of readers and help them to gain a real sense of the history it relates and of the background against which contemporary China walks, I will feel totally satisfied," he once said.

In 2010, this novel was adapted into a film of the same name directed by Wang Quan'an and starring Zhang Fengyi, Zhang Yuqi and Duan Yihong. The film competed in competition for the Golden Bear at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival, where Lutz Reitemeier won the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Achievement in photography.

The book was also listed in a must-read selection by China's Ministry of Education for university students.

In 1979, he became a member of the Chinese Writers Association and then served as the association's vice chairman between 2001 and 2006.

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