Xiao Hong (1911-1942) was a Chinese writer from the Heilongjiang Province.
She was born on the day of the Duānwǔ Jié (Dragon Boat), a festival held on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunisolar Chinese calendar. Hong had an unhappy childhood and it wasn’t until she attended school that she was introduced to literature, both foreign and Chinese.
As a teenager, she was abandoned by her fiancé while she was pregnant. Alone and desperate she was rescued by a local newspaper editor, Xiao Jun, with whom she fell in love. Together they published a collection of short stories in 1933 called Bashe (Arduous Journey).
Xiao’s first novel Sheng si Chang (The Field of Life and Death) depicted the lives of peasant women under Japanese rule and brought Xiao to fame with the Chinese literary circle. The famed Chinese writer Lu Xun was effusive in his praise, declaring Xiao would be one of the centuries most prominent female writers and that Sheng si Chang was ‘a female writer’s meticulous observation and extraordinary writing.’
Breaking from Xiao Jun, she married Duanwu Hongliang and moved to Hong Kong. While there she wrote her most successful novel, Hulanhe zhuan (Tales of the Hulan River). In January 1942, she was admitted to hospital in Hong Kong and after being misdiagnosed, died there on the 22nd January following complication from throat surgery.
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