Geling Yan is one of the most acclaimed contemporary novelists and screenwriters writing in the Chinese language today and a well-established writer in English.
Born in Shanghai, she served with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) during the Cultural Revolution, starting at age 12 as a dancer in an entertainment troupe. After serving for over a decade with the PLA that includes tours in Tibet and as a war correspondent during the Sino-Vietnam border conflict, Geling Yan was discharged with a rank equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel.
Geling Yan went to the United States at the end of 1989 for graduate study. She holds a bachelor's degree in literature from Wuhan University and a Master's in Fine Arts in Fiction Writing from Columbia College, Chicago. To date she has published over 20 books in various editions in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the US, the UK and elsewhere; has won over 30 literary and film awards; and has had her work adapted or written scripts for over a dozen film, TV and radio works. Her works have been translated into fifteen languages.
She published her first novel in 1985 and ever since has produced a steady stream of novels, short stories, novellas, essays and scripts. Her best-known novels in English are Little Aunt Crane, The Flowers of War; The Banquet Bug (written directly in English) and The Lost Daughter of Happiness. She has also published a novella and short story collection called White Snake and Other Stories.
Several of Geling Yan's works have been adapted for film, including internationally distributed films XIU XIU: THE SENT-DOWN GIRL (directed by Joan Chen) and SIAO YU (directed by Sylvia Chang; script co-written by Ang Lee). Chinese director Zhang Yimou made THE FLOWERS OF WAR, an internationally well-claimed film based on her work set during the 1937 Rape of Nanking, starring Academy Award winning actor Christian Bale, and COMING HOME, based on her novel The Criminal Lu Yanshi. She has also written numerous scripts based on her own and other authors' work, both in English and Chinese, including FOREVER ENTHRALLED, a script for a biopic on the iconic Peking opera star Mei Lanfang, directed by Chen Kaige and starring Ziyi Zhang. Additionally, she wrote the script DANGEROUS LIAISONS, a Chinese-language film directed by South Korean director Hur Jin-ho and starring Ziyi Zhang, Jang Dong Gun and Cecilia Cheung.
Geling Yan is affiliated with both the Chinese Writers' Association of the People's Republic of China and Hollywood's Writers' Guild of America