Yang Lian was born in Switzerland in 1955, and grew up in Beijing. He began writing when he was sent to the countryside in the 70s, and on his return became one of the first group of young "underground" Chinese poets, who published the influential literary magazine Jintian. Yang Lian's poems became well known and influential inside and outside of China in the 80s, especially when his long poem "Norlang" was criticized widely by the government during the "Anti-Spiritual Pollution" movement.
Yang Lian was invited to visit Australia and New Zealand in 1988, and became a Chinese poet in exile after the Tiananmen massacre. Since that time, he has continued to write and speak out as a highly individual voice in world literature, politics and culture. Yang Lian has published seven selections of poems, two selections of prose, and many essays in Chinese, and has been translated into more than twenty languages including English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and Eastern European languages.
Yang Lian was the winner of the Flaiano International Poetry Prize (Italy, 1999), and his book Where the Sea Stands Still: New Poems, was awarded the title of "Poetry Books Society Recommended Translation" (UK, 1999). His three volumes of collected works, Yang Lian Zuo Pin 1982 - 1997 (2 volumes) and Yang Lian Xin Zuo 1998 - 2002, were published by Shang Hai Wen Yi Chu Ban She (Literature and Arts Press of Shanghai); his last two books in English are Yi, a booklength poem, published by Green Integer (Sun & Moon Press, 2001), and Notes of a Blissful Ghost, a selection of poems published by Renditions Paperback, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2002.
Brian Holton studied Chinese at the universities of Edinburgh and Durham, and later taught Chinese in both these institutions; he has taught English literature at Ningbo University and Chinese language at the University of Newcastle, where he was the first director of the Chinese-English Translating and Interpreting Programme. He currently teaches translation at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He has translated several books of poetry by Yang Lian, and has published many translations of ancient and modern Chinese literature in both English and his native Scots.
Agnes Hung-Chong Chan obtained her first degree in Translation and Chinese from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 1994 and her master degree in English Studies from the University of Hong Kong in 1997. She edited the first volume of A Chinese Companion to Classical Chinese Literature: An Anthology of Translations, which was published in 2001 by the Chinese University Press, Hong Kong. She has been working at the Centre for Translation Studies in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University since 1994.