Portrait of Murong Xuecun

Murong Xuecun

Murong Xuecun is one of contemporary China’s most celebrated authors and the winner of the 2010 People’s Literature Prize for his most recent book The Missing Ingredient.

Born in 1974 in China’s North East, Murong spent his childhood in Jilin province. In 1996 he graduated from China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. Afterwards he worked as an HR manager for a cosmetics company. He started to write in 2001. In 2002. when his novel Leave Me Alone: A novel of Chengdu (published in China as Chengdu Please Forget Me Tonight) took China by storm, Murong gave up his job and devoted himself to writing full time.

Having declined membership of the China Writers’ Society, he is regarded as an ‘independent’ writer. In the past few years he has travelled around China, living in Chengdu, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Hainan Island and Lhasa. He currently lives in Guangzhou where he runs an advertising company. His other four books include Heaven on the Left, Shenzhen on the Right, Countless People Die of Greed and, in October 2008, released Dancing Through Red Dust which has sold an estimated 100,000 copies in China.

On the night he was awarded the 2010 People’s Literature Prize, Murong intended to give a speech criticising China’s censorship of writers. The speech was to include the following: “The only reality is that we cannot speak reality. The only viewpoint is that we cannot have a viewpoint. We cannot criticise the system, cannot discuss things. Sometimes I can’t resist thinking: has the Cultural Revolution really finished?” Murong was prevented from delivering his speech.