An evening with Yan Geling 严歌苓
Yan Geling opens China in Context Festival
China in Context opened with celebrated author Yan Geling in conversation with two of her translators, Nicky Harman and Lawrence Walker (who also happens to be Geling’s husband). China Exchange was packed with audience members who wanted to learn more from a woman who has produced best-seller after best-seller and written screen plays for some of the most recent blockbuster films made in China.
Geling, whose works include The Uninvited, The Lost Daughter of Unhappiness and White Snake and Other Stories, shared her thoughts on writing as a craft and profession. She outlined the discipline that it takes to research and produce a novel, and the often exhausting process of producing a screenplay to deadline for a film producer.
She described her habit of people watching and reading people to create scenarios and characters for her stories. Geling shared that she prefers peaceful environments and life outside the limelight. As interest in her body of work has grown, she touched upon the uncomfortable trend for people to seek profit from her personal effects, manuscripts and signed objects.
We learned more about her early life – joining the army as a dancer aged 12 and becoming a war correspondent later. She shared how her family’s encouragement and liberal approach to reading material gave her access to a large amount of reading material and that this allowed her to teach herself more about people, places and the world.
Watch the video to hear more of Geling’s experience and the work that Nicky and Lawrence have done in creating a distinct voice for her work in translation.