China's role in the global economy is expanding, but its writers continue to struggle with censorship and restrictions. This month we're presenting fiction, nonfiction, and essays by banned Chinese writers. In work that could not be published in their native country, the authors here testify to the conditions both during the Cultural Revolution and now. We open with Liao Yiwu's impassioned acceptance speech for the Peace Prize for the German Book Trade, just awarded in mid October. Yang Xianhui exposes the hideous truth of the Great Famine, and Xie Peng and Duncan Jepson contribute a graphic portrait of gluttony. Chenxin Jiang interviews censored authors Yan Lianke and Chan Koon-chung. In fiction, Chen Xiwo depicts scheming poets, and Sheng Keyi describes a paradise turned dark. Activist Cui Weiping urges individual action. And in two memoirs of the Cultural Revolution, the late Ji Xianlin recalls his torture and imprisonment, and Zhang Yihe records a clandestine meeting between the top two Rightists.


Elsewhere, in fiction by two writers from the New Literature from Europe Festival, Spain's Ricardo Menéndez Salmón sees a marriage go down in flames, and Romania's Dumitru Tsepeneag witnesses a backyard transformation. 



New Literature from Europe

Life in Flames

My wife and I were sitting on our porch when a man engulfed in flames entered our garden.

Book Reviews

Mikhail Shishkin’s “Maidenhair”

How can you convince anyone of the truth when the only evidence you have is your word?

José Antonio Ramos Sucre’s “Selected Works”

This syntax hypnotically weaves its way into the mind of the reader, hunkers down, and only later bites.

This Country Must Break Apart

We are no longer poets; we have become witnesses of history.

from “Black Rock”

I had heard that Kou-er’s mom had eaten her youngest son.


The Man with the Knife

He was a famous poet, so they almost all submitted