A Short Biography of Xie Bingxin

       Bingxin, a distinguished contemporary writer, poet, translator, and social activist, was born Xie Wanying on Oct.5, 1900, in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, to the family of a patriotic naval officer. During the May Fourth Movement, a patriotic student movement against foreign aggression and for new culture, she was a student at Yanjing University, was elected secretary of the Students Union, and took an active part in the publicity work for the Beijing Federation of Women Students. Greatly inspired by the movement, she began contributing to the newspaper Chenbao (Morning Paper). After she graduated from Yanjing University in 1923 with a Bachelors Degree, Phi-Beta-Kappa, she went to the United States to further her study in literature at Wellesley College and finished her postgraduate study with a Masters Degree. Her M.A. Thesis was An English Translation and Edition of the Poems of Lady Li I-an (1926), a distinguished woman poet of the Sung Dynasty. In 1926, Bingxin returned to China to teach Chinese Literature at Yanjing University, a post she held until 1936. In 1929, she married Wu Wenzao, one of the founders of anthropology in China and widely respected in that field.

       Bingxin had never stopped writing, contributing all her life to various papers and journals. She wrote a lot about her life and experience in the United States, from her journey there to the end of her stay. Those essays were later collected and published under the title of Letters to Young Readers, which has won her great popularity. As well as being educated in America, in 1947,Bingxin went with her husband to Japan where she taught a course on the New Chinese Literature at Tokyo University. She returned to China in 1951.1n 1960,as a member of the Chinese Writers Association, she paid visits to various countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa to promote international cultural exchanges.

       Bingxins literary involvement covers a wide spectrum. Her achievements in writing for children are the most significant and her influence has been widespread. Letter to Young Readers in the 192Os,More Letters to Young Readers in the 1950s and Still More Letters in the 1970s have stimulated and educated generation after generation of young 20th century readers.

      Her most salient literary achievements are in prose, which constitutes the bulk of her writing, A Smile in the 1920s, A Little Orange Lantern in the 1950s, Ode to Cherry Blossoms in the 1960s are modern prose classics. In the spirit of" Life Begins at 80", she had continued her writing into her later years. In the 1980s,she completed a series of prose writings, for example, About Men. Since 1985 she had been writing reminiscences, short stories, prose, essays, which have stimulated great interest and response on the part of her many readers.

      Bingxin was one of Chinese poets in the early time of the 20th century. Two collections of her poems A Maze of Stars and Spring Water, published in the 1920s,were so unique that the style was named  'Bingxin Style' after her. She blazed a trail in modern poetry and ushered in a period of  'popular short poems'.

      In fiction, her 1920s short stories describing social problems, Two Families and A Frustrated Man, found an echo in the hearts of many readers. In 1981,her short story An Empty Nest won the National Best Short Story Award.

      As a translator, Bingxin had translated Tagore's collected poems Gitanjali (Song Offerings) and The Gardener. She was the first to translate the Lebanese Poet Kahil Gibran' s collected poems The Prophet and Sand and Foam into Chinese in the early 30s and 60s respectively. In recognition of her contribution to cultural exchange and friendship between China and Lebanon, the President of Lebanon conferred a National Decoration on her in 1995.

On the 20th century literary scene, Bingxin had emerged as a unique Chinese woman writer in terms both of her achievements and of the fact that her creative writing had spanned the century from the 1920s to the 1990s. Her works teem with wisdom, purity, sincerity, noble ideals, love for the young and for the nation. Her writings have faithfully recorded the experiences and lessons of the 20th century. She was a woman of integrity and principle, keeping her dignity and upholding her lofty ideals. She had taken things philosophically and viewed life optimistically, looking always on the bright side of things. As the saving has it: the writing reflects the writer Bingxin' s writing, like a maze of stars in the sky or a pond of spring water when winter comes to an end, relieves thirst, brings comfort, and will exert a lasting influence on readers, generation after generation.