Biographer sets record

Updated: 2014-11-05 07:30

By Liu Zhihua(China Daily)

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Biographer sets record

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.

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