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Freedom or Exile?

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  • Sat 19 Nov ’11, 4:00pm – 5:30pm


University of Auckland School of Business, 12 Grafton Rd, Auckland CBD


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Adult: $30.00
  • Students: $20.00
  • Festival Friends and Club Members: $20.00

One of China’s most persecuted writers Liao Yiwu fled into self-exile to Germany in July of this year, leaving behind his family. ‘I’m trying to convince myself that I won’t be away from China very long, that things will change sooner than later”, he said.

In 1989 he published his poem ‘Massacre’, a condemnation of the Tiananmen Square killings and was brutally imprisoned for four years. Since being released, he has been denied an exit visa 17 times, hauled from planes and trains and threatened with further imprisonment.

His widely acclaimed The Corpse Walker and Other True Stories of Life in China is a collection of interviews with people he encountered in prison and during his wanderings in the southwest. It tells the unadorned stories of 27 people, among them a public toilet attendant, a persecuted landlord, and the men, known as corpse walkers, whose job is to transport the dead back to their hometowns for burial. The book is banned in his homeland. His recent book soon to be published in the United States is God is Red: The Secret History of how Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China. It provides an unprecedented glimpse into a deeply complex religious and political reality.

Biography: Liao Yiwu is a Chinese writer and musician. In 2007, he received a Freedom to Write Award from the Independent Chinese PEN Centre.

In July 2011, Liao Yiwu escaped to Germany after repeated attempts to publish his books were obstructed by Chinese authorities. He has recently appeared with Salman Rushdie and Philip Gourevitch at a PEN America event at the New School in New York.

Don’t miss the unprecedented opportunity to see Liao Yiwu in conversation with Gilbert Wong at a one-off Auckland event.

This event will be held in the Fisher & Paykel Auditorium, University of Auckland School of Business.

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