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The Wild Land

by Jia Pingwa

A collection Jia Pingwa's most celebrated prose essays, each in their first English translation.

"What do people fear the most? The answer is: the sound of knocking at the door. I have moved five times while living in the city. Each time to a single - or two-bedroom apartment with one sitting room. All day long, my door was pounded like a drum."

Jia Pingwa is one of the best-known and most prolific novelists in contemporary China. Now, in its first English translation, The Wild Land brings together a collection of his most celebrated prose essays. Delving deep into his diverse preoccupations – fate, art, religion and interpersonal relationships – this richly rewarding anthology gives a fascinating insight into the mind of one of modern Chinese literature’s most revered sons.

This book is part of Shaanxi Stories, a series of translated works by acclaimed authors from the Shaanxi province of China, produced by Valley Press in collaboration with Northwest University, Xi’an. The series editors are Hu Zongfeng and Robin Gilbank.


Jia Pingwa is a formidable cultural figure in China, where he is widely regarded as one of the most important writers of his generation. Born in 1953, his early stories dealt with the countryside around his home city Shangluo in the Shaanxi region. In the 1990s, however, his novels, short stories, poetry and non-fiction became more overtly political, outspoken and challenging to the prevalent climate of censorship, leading to his 1993 novel The Abandoned Capital (also known in English as Ruined City) being banned for 17 years by the State Publishing Administration, ostensibly for explicit sexual content.

As his writing became more confrontational, his audience grew exponentially. He also gained critical acclaim from the literary establishment, including winning the Mao Dun Literary Prize, one of the most prestigious writing awards in China, for Shaanxi Opera in 2008. Aside from writing, he is a talented professional calligrapher and artist.

In 2018, Valley Press published a translation of his 1996 novel Tu Men (The Earthen Gate), as part of our 'Shaanxi Stories' series celebrating the writers of that region, in collaboration with Northwest University, Xi’an.


Edition: First

Date Published: 2022-03-10

ISBN: 978-1-912436-72-9

Catalogue Number: VP0193

Number of Pages: 144

Text design by Peter Barnfather

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