Xiao Hong (蕭紅) was one of a group of authors who spent time in Qingdao in the early 1930’s writing fiction that later became well known works in the modern Chinese literature canon. She worked on the novel Sheng Si Chang (The Field of Life and Death) in Qingdao in 1934. Xiao Hong lived with fellow writer Xiao Jun at 1 Guanxiang Yi Lu (观象一路1号). Other acclaimed writers who lived in Qingdao around the same time include Lao She and Shen Congwen.

More info on Xiao Hong

When her father arranged marriage for her, she escaped to Beijing. Xiao Hong’s intended husband followed her there and she agreed to live with him. They returned to Harbin where she met in 1932 Xiao Jun, a young writer. They started to publish in the local papers. In 1933 she wrote short stories ‘Trek’ and ‘Tornado’, and in the same year she and Xiao Jun were published in a joint collection of short stories, Bashe (1933). In 1934 they left Harbin, which was ruled by the Japanese occupiers, and moved to Qingdao. Finally Xiao Hong settled with Xiao Jun in Shanghai, where they became friends with Lu Xun.

As a writer Xiao Hong made her breakthrough with Sheng Si Chang (1935, The Field of Life and Death). It appeared with the help of Lu Xun, who wrote a preface for it. The work was an instant success and made a strong impact on leftist literary circles and urban readers. It was one of the first literary works to reflect life under Japanese rule. The story depicted village life during the thirties in northeast China and the revolt against Japanese aggression.

Xiao Hong later split with Xiao Jun and married the writer Duanmu Hongliang. Her writing has been called “a narrative style that was not in tune with the official doctrines of realism”. Xiao Hong wrote the short stories Hands and On the Oxcart, which can be purchased online as part of the collection The Dyer’s Daughter.

Relevant Links:
Xiao Hong/Xiao Jun Qingdao Home on Google Maps

Image Credit @ Zhou Hui

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