Portrait Liao
© Ali Ghandtschi

Guest 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016.


Für ein Lied und hundert Lieder

Ein Zeugenbericht aus chinesischen Gefängnissen

S. Fischer

Frankfurt a. M., 2011

[Ü: Hans Peter Hoffmann]

Erinnerung, bleib


[Begleittexte v. Herta Müller u. Susanne Messmer]

Lieblingsbuch/Fly Fast Publishing

Berlin, 2012

Die Dongdong-Tänzerin und der Sichuan-Koch

Geschichten aus der chinesischen Wirklichkeit

S. Fischer

Frankfurt a. M., 2013

[Ü: Hans Peter Hoffmann]

Gott ist rot

Geschichten aus dem Untergrund

Verfolgte Christen in China

S. Fischer

Frankfurt a. M., 2014

[Ü: Hans Peter Hoffmann]

Die Wiedergeburt der Ameisen


S. Fischer

Frankfurt a. M., 2016

[Ü: Karin Betz]

Liao Yiwu [ China, Germany ]

Liao Yiwu was born in 1958 in Yanting County in the Sichuan Province of China. After secondary school he traveled through China, not only working as a cook and a truck driver, but also intensively studying Western poetry and writing his first poems.

In the 1980s he became one of China's best-known young poets; however, after some of his works were published in underground literary journals, the authorities blacklisted him in 1987. Two years later, Liao wrote his poem »Massacre«, about the suppression of the popular uprising on Tiananmen Square (available in German since 2012 in a volume titled »Massaker. Frühe Gedichte«; tr: Massacre. Early poems). In 1990 the author was sentenced to 4 years in prison for his film »Requiem« (1989), which was also about the events on Tiananmen Square and was later reworked into a book titled »Testimonials or: For a Song and a Hundred Songs: A Poet's Journey Through a Chinese Prison« (2000). International pressure led to his early release, but after enduring psychological and physical violence during his imprisonment, Liao was subsequently socially isolated and ostracized. His experience of being an outcast and being forced to move from one odd job to the next found expression in his book »Interviews with People from the Bottom Rung of Society« (2001). Originally published in his homeland in a bowdlerized version and lauded by critics as a »historical documentation of today's China«, it was ultimately banned by the authorities. In 2002 an original edition was released by a Taiwanese publisher; translations of the text, including those into French and English, won Liao international recognition. After years of being forbidden to travel abroad, the politically active author was allowed to participate in the 2010 internationales literaturfestival berlin. Only one year later, however, the authorities forbade him from reading or publishing his work internationally. In 2011 Liao managed to escape via Vietnam to Germany, and has lived in exile in Berlin ever since. His book published the same year, »God Is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China«, gives a voice to a minority that has clung to its beliefs for many generations, despite being officially silenced through all sorts of repressive measures. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, remarked that »Liao’s coverage of Christians allows truth to shine in the darkness. That’s the beauty of his writings«. His first novel »Die Wiedergeburt der Ameisen« (tr. The rebirth of the ants) was published in August 2016.

The jury that awarded Liao the 2012 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade also praised the author for waging »an eloquent and fearless battle against political repression« and erecting »an evocative literary monument to people living on the margins of Chinese society«.