Renowned writer Yang Jiang dies at age 104

By Yang Yang ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-05-26 04:14:40

Renowned writer Yang Jiang dies at age 104

Yang Jiang

Chinese writer and translator Yang Jiang died early on Wednesday in Beijing at age 104. The longest-living Chinese woman writer, she was known for her modest, subtle and witty writing style.

Yang became a household name in China for her novels, essays, plays and translated works.

Her most popular novel, Baptism, depicting a group of intellectuals adjusting to a new society in the early 1950s, has been translated into French and English.

Her memoir Six Chapters from My Life "Downunder", on the daily lives of intellectuals during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76), has been translated into English, French, Russian and Japanese.

She was the first to translate Don Quixote into Chinese. The translation was first published in 1978 and has sold more than 1 million copies.

Yang began learning Spanish in 1959 at age 48, and started to translate Don Quixote in 1962. The work was stopped twice due to the "cultural revolution". She completed it in 1976, and the Chinese edition was published in 1978.

In that year, the Spanish king and queen visited China, and then-leader Deng Xiao-ping gave the royal couple Yang's translation as a gift.

Yang was received by Deng at the Great Hall of the People. While shaking hands, Deng asked her when she had completed the translation. "It's just published," she replied, having no time to tell the full story.

Yang never stopped writing. At 94, she started writing the book Walking onto the Edge of Life to reflect on her life. It won China's top book award in 2007. At 100, she was still writing articles for newspapers.

She was married to Qian Zhongshu, a renowned scholar and author of the best-selling novelFortress Besieged.

Yang's memoir about her family, The Three of Us, written after her husband and daughter died, in 1998 and 1997 respectively, was translated into German.

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