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LIVE from the NYPL: Liao Yiwu in Conversation with Paul Holdengräber

June 13, 2013

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Liao Yiwu sits down with Paul Holdengräber for a wide-ranging discussion of poetry, protest, and prison, interspersed by a musical performance on the xiao (Chinese flute) and a reading of his poem "Massacre". With the special participation of Wenguang Huang, Liao Yiwu's translator.

"One of the most original and remarkable Chinese writers of our time." - Philip Gourevitch

Liao Yiwu is one of the most prominent and outspoken Chinese writers today. He spent four torturous years in prison for writing the incendiary poem “Massacre.” For many years since, the Chinese government has considered his writings subversive because they expose the dark side of the socialist system, and all of his books are currently banned in China. Liao fled the country in July 2011, to escape arrest preceding the publication of his memoir in Germany.

Two years later, Liao Yiwu appears at LIVE from the NYPL to celebrate the US publication of his memoir, For a Song and A Hundred Songs, which describes in vivid detail the brutal reality of crowded Chinese prisons, the harassment from guards and fellow prisoners, the torture, the conflicts among human beings in close confinement, and the boredom of everyday life. 

Liao Yiwu is a writer, musician, and poet from Sichuan, China. He is the author of The Corpse Walker and God Is Red, and has received numerous awards for his work, including the prestigious 2012 Peace Prize awarded by the German Book Trade and the 2011 Geschwister-Scholl-Preis for the publication of his memoir in Germany. He now lives in Berlin.

Wenguang Huang is a Chicago-based writer, journalist and translator. Huang's memoir “The Little Red Guard," was a Washington Post Best of 2012 pick, and his latest book, “A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel,” offers an insider’s take on the murder of a British businessman in China. Huang's translations of Chinese non-fiction works have appeared in the Paris Review, Harper’s magazine, and the Asia Literary Review.  He has translated Chinese dissident writer Liao Yiwu’s books “For a Song and One Hundred  Songs,” “Corpse Walker,” and “God is Red," as well as Yan Xianhui’s “Women in Shanghai.” Huang is the recipient of the 2007 PEN Translation Fund Award. 


A note to our patrons: LIVE from the NYPL programs begin promptly at 7p.m. We recommend arriving twenty minutes before the scheduled start time to get to your seats. In order to minimize disturbances to other audience members, we are unable to provide late seating.
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LIVE from the NYPL is made possible with generous support from Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, and the Margaret and Herman Sokol Public Education Endowment Fund.