Renowned Chinese novelist Yan Lianke was born in an impoverished region of Song County, Henan Province in 1958. His parents, illliterate farmers who lacked the means to send him to university, encouraged him to enlist in the army, where he rose in the ranks to become a propaganda writer. Upon returning to civilian life, Yan embarked on a career as a novelist. Over the last 30 years, he has produced an extensive body of work that ranges from novels, novellas and short fiction to essays and criticism. Although he has had two of his novels banned in China and was, for a period of three years, prohibited from obtaining a passport or travelling abroad, Yan continues to speak honestly about the impact that government censorship - and self-censorship - have had on contemporary Chinese writers.
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