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Hong Kong Literary Giant Liu Yichang Passes Away at 99

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Famed Hong Kong novelist, wartime journalist, and literary magazine editor Liu Yichang passed away yesterday at the age of 99. The SCMP has a timely tribute to the “giant of modern literature”:

Born in Shanghai on December 7, 1918, and originally named Liu Tongyi, Liu Yichang first came to Hong Kong in 1948 and settled down in the city with his wife Lo Pai-wun in 1957.

In a writing career spanning more than six decades, Liu published over 30 books including novels, literary reviews, essays, poems and translated works.

He is credited with establishing modern literature in Hong Kong, with many of his works carrying the city’s unique metropolitan flavour. Liu was also known for discovering and nurturing a number of outstanding Hong Kong-based writers, including late poet Leung Ping-kwan, who went by the pen name Yesi, and author Zhang Yan, also known as Xi Xi.

If Liu’s name doesn’t ring a bell for you, the best-known adaptation of his work might: Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai’s 2000 masterpiece, In the Mood For Love. Writer and translator Eileen Chengyin Chow — who’s well worth a follow in general for fans of modern and not-so-modern Chinese literature and poetry — commemorated Liu’s passing yesterday with an instructive thread on the late novelist’s relation with Wong:

See the full thread here, and if you’re interested in reading Liu’s work, you can find a translated short story of his here, and a story collection available in paperback on Amazon.

Cover image: “He remembers those vanished years. As though peering through a dusty window pane – the past was something he could see, but not touch. He always longed for all that had past. If he could shatter that dusty glass, he could walk back into those vanished years.” – Liu Yichang / Wong Kar-wai (translated by Eileen Chengyin Chow)

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RADII Staff
RADII (rā'dē-ī') is an independent platform of artists, writers and creators dedicated to sharing vibrant stories from the rarely explored sides of new China.