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Bai Xianyong (Pai Hsien-yung)

Bai Xianyong, a.k.a. Pai Hsien-yung (1937– ). Fiction writer born in 1937 in Guilin, China, as a son of the prominent Kuomintang general Bai Chongxi. In 1952, he moved to Taiwan. Bai studied at the National Taiwan University and at the University of Iowa. In 1964, he assumed a teaching position at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Bai Xianyong published his first work of fiction, Madame Jin, in 1958, and in 1960, he became one of the founders of the literary journal Modern Literature. The authors associated with the journal, inspired by Western modernism, attempted to promote experimental writing techniques in Taiwan. Bai Xianyong’s most popular works focus on experiences of people of Chinese ethnicity in the USA (New Yorkers), changes in the Taiwanese society and Taiwanese characters’ (especially those who migrated to Taiwan from China in the 1940s and 1950s) psychology (Taipei People) and the lives of the members of Tapei’s gay community (Crystal Boys). His other representative works include: Lonely Seventeen, The Sixth Finger, Celebrity Coffeehouse, A Sudden Look Back. Bai Xianyong’s prose was translated into numerous languages and has been received enthusiastically all around the world. Since the time he retired, Bai has focused on promoting Kunqu Opera and working on reinterpretations of classics of Chinese literature.