Ding Ling was one of the prominent Chinese writers of the 20th century. She wrote in times of great social and political upheaval. Ding was born in Linfeng County, Hunan Province, into a genteel family. She was educated in the modern schools of Changsha (where Mao Zedong also studied) during the time of the intellectual revolution of the 1920s.
In 1927, Ding began to compose novels. Her maiden work was Dreaming Ke, and her representative early work was Diary of Ms. Shafei, in which a young woman describes her unhappiness with her life and confused romantic feelings. The book was regarded as a classic about the emotional fluctuations and sexual frustrations of urban intellectual women. Her other early novels were volumes of short stories, In the Dark, Diary of Suicide, and A Women, as well as the novella, Weihu. Then she published the novellas and short stories, Shanghai in Spring 1930, A Night, The Tian Hub, Water, Law Net, News, Evening Meeting, Running, The Poet Ya Luofu, For Children, as well as Mother. In 1932 Ding joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) with her husband Hu Yepin. She was jailed in 1933 by Nationalists for her communist activities before escaping in 1936.
In 1948, she completed the well known saga novel, The Sun Shines over the Sanggan River. This masterpiece was a milestone in Ding Ling's creative work, and also an outstanding achievement in the modern history of Chinese literature. In 1951, she won Stalin Literary Prize.
Ding was persecuted in the Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957 for her open criticisms of the party, especially in regard to women's rights. She was officially expelled from the CPC in 1957. During the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, she became a target again and was incarcerated from 1970-1975. Ding's party membership was restored in 1979. Her later publications include several critical essays and short stories.
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