Zhiling Gao’s writing residency in Beijing

Zhiling Gao

A child of 1960s China, Melbourne based Zhiling Gao is a freelance interpreter, literary translator, language teacher, author and broadcaster. While on residency in Beijing, Zhiling is working on a third draft of her manuscript A Bag Of Power, set in Inner Mongolia, China, during the Cultural Revolution. As a social memoir it explores the behaviour of ordinary people under extraordinary social circumstances.

During her residency Zhiling is researching the transformation of her parents and her own generation by social and political forces, collecting material from libraries, Universities and face-to-face interviews. She recently conducted a research trip from Beijing to Inner Mongolia, where she presented talks arranged by the embassy.

Based at the Beijing Bookworm, Zhiling took part in the Bookworm Literary Festival and Australian Writers Week as a panel moderator and translator. The events presented an opportunity to meet fellow authors from Australia and China, and international guests from further afield. At the time Zhiling stated:

“Beijing Bookworm sits in the heart of Beijing. It is a most unusual bookstore of any kind. It’s a café, restaurant and bar, and books from floor to roof. People come to drink, eat, chat, read and leave with books to borrow or buy. It’s a real bustling hive of literary activity. I am very fortunate to be here for the writing residency to experience the Literary Festival and Australian Writers Week.”

Zhiling Gao’s childhood and early adult years were spent in China, from 1959 to 1986. She studied and taught English language and literature before immigrating to Australia in 1987. Familiar with Chinese literary conventions, traditions and preoccupations, the author aspires to establish ongoing ties in China and tell stories that will be valued by both cultures.


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Louise Joel

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