Department of Literary Writing
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Literary Writing is an important component of the long-standing humanistic tradition of Beijing Normal University as well as an important link in the training of creative use of native speaker competence in humanistic education. In the more than one hundred years since the founding of Beijing Normal University, many famous names in Chinese literature related to the university appeared in areas such as the May Fourth Literary Arena and the new period literature circles. These include Lu Xun, Lu Yin, Shi Pingmei, Ms. Gan (Feng Yuanjun), Mu Mutian, Zhong Jingwen, Su Xuelin, Zhang Wojun, Jiao Juyin, Niu Han, Tang Qi and Zheng Min. Since the 1980s, Beijing Normal University has produced fruitful results in literary education and cultivated a many outstanding writers, among whom Su Tong, Mou Sen and Yi Sha are graduates with bachelor degrees from the university. In 1988, Tong Qingbing set up the Postgraduate Literary Writing Class, through which a great many famous writers including Mo Yan, Yu Hua, Yan Geling, Liu Zhenyun, Chi Zijian and Bi Shumin have been cultivated.

In May 2013, the International Writing Center of Beijing Normal University was established under the leadership of Mo Yan, Nobel Laureate in Literature. In 2014, the “Postgraduate Literary Writing Class” of the School of Chinese Language and Literature began enrolling students. The literature societies represented by the May Fourth Literary Society are very active and student members are extremely enthusiastic in literary writing. In order to inherit the tradition of humanistic education and literary writing of Beijing Normal University, the School of Chinese Language and Literature set up the “Department of Literary Writing” in September 2015. Its main tasks include offering basic literary writing courses for undergraduates and postgraduates, as well as literary writing theory.

Professor Zhang Ning is the current director of the Department of Literary Writing. A national first-class writer and literary critic, Professor Zhang Ning has served as judge of many national awards such as Lu Xun Literature Prize, Mao Dun Literature Prize, Five-One Project Award, National Book Award and Chinese Outstanding Publication Award. Members of the Department mainly include: Professor Zhang Qinghua (executive director of the International Writing Center of Beijing Normal University, literary critic, vice director of Chinese Association of Contemporary Literature and vice director of the Poetry Committee of China Writers Association who has served as judge of many national literary award such as Mao Dun Literature Award), Professor Liang Zhenghua (a famous scriptwriter who won the 29th China Golden Eagle Award for Best Television Series), Professor Zhang Li (a literary critic and member of the Theoretical Committee of China Writers Association who has served as judge of many national literary awards such as Mao Dun Literature Award), Professor Zhang Guolong (a children’s writer), Professor Mao Feng and Doctor Bai Huiyuan. Other adjunct members include famous scholars Professor Liu Yong and Professor Zhao Yong.

Other teaching staff of the Department include Professor Su Tong (a famous writer and winners of Mao Dun Literature Award), Professor Ouyang Jianghe (a famous poet), and Professor Xi Chuan (a famous poet). In addition, many famous writers and poets at home and abroad are working in the Department of Literary Writing as adjunct supervisors, including Yu Hua, Ge Fei, Yan Geling, Li Jingze, Li Er and Qiu Huadong.

They have remarkable achievements in areas such as novels, poetry, prose and drama. Su Tong is the author of many novels with widespread literary influence, including The River Bank, Yellowbird Story and My Life as Emperor. Ouyang Jianghe’s poetry collections include Who Leaves and Who Stays, Glass Reflecting over Words and Tears of Things. Xi Chuan’s poetry collections include China's Rose, A Fictitious Family Tree and Roughly Speaking. Zhang Ning’s works include the novel A Tale of Three Cities, the long fairy tale Secret of Long Feet Village Town and the medium-length novel Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Zhang Qinghua’s works include the poetry collection The Garden of Formalism, and essay collections Heidelberg Notes, The Secret Carnival, Memory of a Shy Wolf. Liang Zhenghua is scriptwriter for TV series Eternal Wave, In Spring, Xiaoqi the Magic Dog and My Husband the PhD. Zhang Li’s works include essay collections Kindness from Strangers and Men with Little Fire. Zhang Guolong’s published novels include Meizi on Wutong Road, Summer by the Water and Boy in the Wind. Bai Huiyuan’s drama works include To Kill a Rabbit, Fault Tolerant Computing, and The Search for Sylvia.

The Department has produced fruitful research results in avant-garde literature, novel poetics, mass literature and mass culture, root-seeking literature, poetry aesthetics, female literature and works of contemporary cutting-edge writers. Zhang Ning’s works include Literature in Sentimental Time, Dusk of the Land, Literature and Happiness, Rebuilding the Babel of Literature and The History of Chinese Contemporary Literature. Zhang Qinghua’s works include Trends of Thought in Contemporary Chinese Advant-garde Literature, Heaven’s Lament, Subtraction of Literature, Poetics of Guessing about the God. Liang Zhenhua’s works include Phantom and Fleeting Time, Lies and Charms of Fashion, Unknown Whisperss from the Mirror, Introduction to Chinese Contemporary Film and Television Literature. Zhang Li’s works include Before Rising to the Surface of History, Sister Mirror Image, One Sound Uttered by the Public, and Power of the Wild. Tan Wuchang’s works include Death Imagination in Chinese New Poetry of the 20th Century, Exile and Reconstruction of Poetry, Teaching Poetry at Beijing Normal University (five volumes). Xiong Xiuyu’s works include Chinese Contemporary Root-seeking Literature and Culture, From Root-seeking Literature to Advant-garde Literature, On Chinese Contemporary Root-seeking Literature Trends, and Guidance for Reading Works of Chinese Contemporary Writers. Bai Huiyuan’s works include Hero Declension: Sun Wukong and Self-Transcendence of Modern China.

By 2018, the Department has cultivated twenty postgraduates majoring in Literary Writing and Criticism, who have published more than 40 short and medium-sized novels, essays, poems, plays and other works in famous literary journals such as People’s Literature, Chinese Writers, Shanghai Literature and Writer Magazine. Since 2017, the Department has set up the postgraduate class for writers in collaboration with Lu Xun Literature School. The class has run two years up to now and has enrolled 40 students, including famous young writers such as Qiao Ye and Lu Min, winner of Lu Xun Literature Award,

Although the three-year-old Department is still developing, it has produced widespread impact on literature and education and is holding the leading position in this area in the whole country. In terms of curriculum construction, the Department has already developed mature courses such as “Writer Lectures”, “Theory and Practice of Literary Writing”, and “Methods and Practice of Creative Writing”. It adheres to the double evaluation method of thesis and works and defines poetry writing as the direction of thesis topic selection. This new model of talent cultivation has been recognized by all relevant sides. It follows the new path of combining knowledge and practice and giving priority to ability training in cultivating students. The Department plans to open more courses on creative writing such as “Movie and TV Drama Creation”, “Children’s Creative Literature” and” Science-fiction Creative Literature”, and compile “Books of Literary Writing and Creative Writing”.

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