was born in Qingdao, China, in 1953. He worked as a watch-mender’s apprentice, a painter of propaganda boards, and a photojournalist. At the age of thirty, he left his job and traveled for three years across China. In 1987 he completed Stick Out Your Tongue, which prompted the Chinese government to ban his future work. Ma Jian left Beijing for Hong Kong in 1987 as a dissident, but he continued to travel to China, and he supported the pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square in 1989. After the handover of Hong Kong he moved to Germany and then London, where he now lives. He cannot return to China, if not with his writing.
“I see my skeleton walking down the street now. I’m walking behind it. Our feet touch the ground at the same time. I am my own shadow. The road we’re walking along looks familiar. The trees lining the pavement have been bleached by the sun. There are stone steps on my left. I climb them. This is the route I used to take after school. It’s very dark. The skeleton has disappeared.”
From Beijing Coma, Chatto & Windus, translated by Flora Drew
China > London, third millenium
Teatro Sociale, Sunday September 18, 2 PM