Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lin Haiyin

Lin Haiyin was a writer of Chinese ethnicity. She is now best remembered for her sensitive memoir 城南舊事 , which is a novelistic tribute to her childhood reminiscences of Beijing.

Born in Osaka, Japan, where her father worked as a merchant, Lin's parents moved first to Taiwan before settling in Beijing when she was 5. She would spend her next 25 years there. At Beijing Lin graduated from the News and Broadcast Institute as a journalist for ''Shijie Ribao'' .

In 1948 Lin returned with her husband and family to Taiwan, where she became the editors of several important literary periodicals and newspapers, and where she would reside for the rest of her life. Altogether she published some 18 books, including novels, short story collections, radio drama and children's literature, mostly dealing with the feminine experience. Her most famous book remains 城南舊事 . In it Lin records in lively, evocative, third-person prose her childhood memories, ending with the death of her father, from the eyes of a precocious, impressionable young girl.

''My Memories of Old Beijing'' was made into a Mainland China feature film in 1982, directed by Wu Yigong. The film won the Best Director Prize at the 3rd annual Golden Rooster Awards as well as Golden Eagle Prize at the Manila International Film Festival in 1983. In 1999, it was chosen as one of the 100 best 20th-century Chinese-language films by ''Asia Weekly''.

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