Gao Xingjian

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Gao Xingjian.

Gao Xingjian ( Chinese  高行健 , Pinyin Gāo Xíngjiàn ; born January 4, 1940 in Ganzhou , Jiangxi Province ) is a Chinese-born storyteller , translator , playwright , director , critic and artist with French nationality. In 2000 he received the Nobel Prize in Literature .


Gao Xingjian was born on January 4, 1940 in Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, in eastern China . His father was a bank clerk and his mother an amateur actress. His interest in theater and writing was aroused by his mother in early childhood . In 1962, he passed an academic exam in French at the Institute for Foreign Languages ​​in Beijing .

During the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) he was sent to a camp for re-education. He was later sent to a village to work on the land for five years, where he was able to resume his writing activities in secret.

In 1985 he received a DAAD scholarship for a one-year work stay in Berlin and met the art collector Franz Armin Morat . In 1985 he also took part in the West Berlin Horizons - Festival of World Cultures (No. 3, 1985). In 1987 he then moved to Paris via Freiburg . After the bloody crackdown on the Chinese student movement on Tian'anmen Square in Beijing in early May 1989 , he criticized the massacre on French television. After 27 years of membership, he quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and returned his Chinese passport. He was granted political asylum at his request. In Paris he earned his living painting. Gao has been a French citizen since 1998.

Nobel Prize Ceremony

The award of the Nobel Prize came as a surprise to many, not least for Gao himself. From China it was argued that Gao played no role in the Chinese literary scene and was absolutely unknown in his homeland; one should rather have honored a Chinese living in China. He became a non-person.

Gao's Swedish translator Göran Malmqvist is a member of the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Prize. Ten days before the Nobel Prize was awarded, Gao switched his Swedish publisher - from Forum to Atlantis. Atlantis-Verlag belongs to a friend of Malmqvist's and media reports speculated that Malmqvist had leaked information about the upcoming award ceremony beforehand.


In addition to dramatic works, he is also the creator of novels . In his novel The Mountain of the Soul he describes a journey through the interior of China, a ghostly China, the China of the philosopher Laotse , which lies apart from the “world of dust”. The book of a lonely person gives an impressive account of the Cultural Revolution in China and its terrible and cruel consequences for the individual.

Publications (selection)

  • Chinese   車站  /  车站 , Pinyin Chēzhàn Bus Stop , play, WP : 1983 in Beijing
  • Chinese  一個 人 的 聖經  /  一个 人 的 圣经 , Pinyin Yīgè rén de shèngjīng , The Book of a Lonely Man , 1999; Translation from Chinese by Natascha Vittinghoff; Frankfurt / Main, Fischer Taschenbuch 2006; ISBN 3-596-15241-0 .
  • Chinese  靈山  /  灵山 , Pinyin Língshān Der Berg der Seele (translation from Chinese by Helmut Forster-Latsch and Marie-Luise Latsch; Frankfurt / Main, Fischer Taschenbuch 2003); ISBN 3-596-15250-X .
  • On the sea (translation from Chinese by Natascha Vittinghoff; Frankfurt / Main, Fischer Taschenbuch 2000); ISBN 3-596-15183-X .
  • Chinese  給 我 老爺 買 魚竿  /  给 我 老爷 买 鱼竿 , Pinyin Gěi Wǒ Lǎoye Mǎi Yúgān My grandfather's fishing rod ; Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch, 2008 ISBN 978-3-596-15249-0
  • Chinese  八月 雪  /  八月 雪 , Pinyin Bāyuèxuě So far only in English: Snow in August , 2004, Chinese University Press, Hong Kong , ISBN 978-962-996-068-1


Web links

Commons : Gao Xingjian  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Entry on Gao Xingjian in the DAAD's Berlin artist program.