/ 25 March 2015

Bei Dao is the winner of the “Golden Wreath” award

Bei Dao is the winner of the “Golden Wreath” award of the Struga Poetry Evenings of 2015.

On March 20th in the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Skopje, the Managing Board of the Struga Poetry Evenings officially announced that the Chinese poet Bei Dao is the laureate of the “Golden Wreath” of the Struga Poetry Evenings of 2015. With this award, he joins the list of the greatest poetic names of the second half of the twentieth and the twenty-first century: Wystan Hugh Auden, Eugenio Montale, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Rafael Alberti, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Ted Hughes, Joseph Brodsky, Allen Ginsberg, Tomas Tranströmer, Ko Un, and has become the 50th laureate of this most prestigious world achievement of poetic work.

Bei Dao is the most prominent Chinese poet of his generation, one of the foremost writers of modern China. Born under the name Zhao Zhenkai on August 2nd 1949 in Beijing, in the literary world he is known under his alias Bei Dao, which literally translates to “Northern Island”, suggested to him by a friend in order to mark the heritage of the poet of Northern China, and also to reflect his mysterious solitude. Bei Dao has become one of the most important poets of the Misty School, a group of Chinese poets who reacted against the limitations of the Cultural Revolution.

In 1978 Bei Dao and his colleague Mang Ke created, founded the underground literary magazine Jintian (Today), which has been banned by the authorities in 1980 for publication. Bei Dao’s poem “Huida” (“The Answer”) is taken up as a defiant symbol of the pro-democracy movement and appeared on posters during the protest and the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. During the movement in 1989, Bei Dao was staying in Berlin as a writer and was not allowed to return to China. He spent the next eighteen years ill exile, living in eight different countries.  In 2006, he returned to China .

Bei Dao's books of poetry include Unlock (2000), At the Sky's Edge: Poems 1991-1996 (1996), Landscape Over Zero (1995), Forms of Distance (1994), Old Snow (1991), and The August Sleepwalker (1988). He is also the author of the short-story collection Waves (1985) and two essay collections, Blue House (2000) and Midnight's Gate (2005), an excerpt from which appeared ill the May 2005 issue of World Literature Today (under the title "New York Variations"). His work has been translated into over thirty languages.

Bei Dao was named a presidential lecturer at Stanford and has taught at the University of California at Davis, the University of Alabama, the University of Notre Dame, and Beloit College in Wisconsin. In August 2007 Bei Dao moved to Hong Kong with his family. He is currently Professor of Humanities at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.