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Zhang Kangkang (born as Zhang Kangmei, July 3, 1950, Hangzhou) is a Chinese female writer.


She was born into a family of Communist intellectuals (her first name Kang-Kang means "resistance-resistance"), and belongs to the generation that was deeply affected by the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

She was one of the "educated city youths" who were sent to remote countryside to be "re-educated by the poor and lower-middle class peasants". They were destined to spend their lives as "peasants of a new type with a socialist consciousness".

At the age of nineteen, she was sent to the "Great Northern Wilderness", deep in Manchuria, where she faced a life of extreme harshness, marked by deprivation and bullying by the party cadres assigned to re-educate the new arrivals.

It wasn't until the death of Mao that she was finally allowed, after eight years, to come back to the city. She then resumed her studies and, in 1979, publishing her first significant work, The Right to Love. The book is a reflection on freedom, and resistance to the forces that oppress the individual.

She is married to fellow writer Jiang Rong, who attained international fame with his 2004 novel Wolf Totem.


  • The Boundary Line (1975)
  • 'The Right to Love' (1979)
  • 'Summer' (1981)
  • The Pale Mists of Dawn (1980)
  • Aurora Borealis (1981)
  • 'The Wasted Years'. Translated in Seven Contemporary Chinese Women Writers
  • Selected Works about Educated Youth. (Includes stories 'The Peony Garden', 'Cruelty' and 'Sandstorm')
  • 'The Tolling of a Distant Bell'. Translated by Daniel Bryant in Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 16.3 (1984): 44-51, and Contemporary Chinese Literature (see below): 98-105
  • Northern Lights. Chapter 7 translated by Daniel Bryant in Chinese Literature, Winter 1988, pp. 92–102.
  • The Invisible Companion. Transl. by Daniel Bryant. Peking: New World Press, 1996.
  • 'The Peony Garden'. Translated by Daniel Bryant, Renditions 58 (2002): 127-39.
  • Richard King (ed. 2003) Living With Their Past: Post-Urban Youth Fiction. Hong Kong: Renditions Paperbacks, Research Center for Translation, Chinese University of Hong Kong. 2003.
  • Daniel Bryant (1989) Making it Happen: Aspects of Narrative Method in Zhang Kangkang’s ‘Northern Lights’. In Modern Chinese Women Writers: Critical Appraisals, ed. Michael Duke, Armonk, N.Y.: M.E.Sharpe, 1989, pp. 112–34.
  • Contemporary Chinese Literature: an Anthology of Post-Mao Fiction and Poetry, ed. Michael Duke, Armonk: M. E. Sharpe, 1985
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