Biographer sets record
Updated: 2014-11-05 07:30
By Liu Zhihua(China Daily)
The stack of the biographies written by Chen is taller than him. [Photo/China Daily]
Chen Tingyi has been honored for producing the most biographies by a Chinese writer. Liu Zhihua looks at the legacy of the man whose goal has been to chronicle others' lives.
Shanghai Big World Guinness recently recognized Beijing-based author Chen Tingyi as the Chinese writer who has produced the most biographies－101, to be precise.
But the 67-year-old tells China Daily he's proudest of pioneering biographies of politically sensitive figures rather than of the number of works he has produced.
Chen penned biographies of many historical figures－such as late Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek and Republic of China founder Sun Yat-sen, and their respective wives, Soong Mei-ling and Soong Ching Ling－during the 1990s, when society was still conservative.
He soared to instant fame with his debut work on People's Liberation Army general Xu Shiyou (1905-85) in the 1980s.
His books were so popular that they were pirated immediately upon publication.
Chen says Xu inspired his mission as a biographer.
Chen grew up amid famine in Henan province's Xinxian county, from where Xu also hailed.