Rebecca Carter has acquired for Harvill Secker from Marysia Juszczakiewicz at Peony Literary Agency two books by the acclaimed Chinese author, Yan Geling. The first, Nanjing Heroes (to be published in February 2012) is a powerful novella based on real events that happened during the Nanjing Massacre in 1937. It is currently being made into a film by Chinese director Zhang Yimou (To Live, Raise the Red Lantern, House of Flying Daggers) which stars Oscar-winner Christian Bale as the American priest whose attempt to shelter a group of Chinese schoolgirls from the Japanese invaders is jeopardised when prostitutes from the nearby brothel break into the church compound desperate for a place to hide. Translation rights are represented by Peony and have sold so far to Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Vietnam, with a lot of interest amongst other European publishers. The manuscript is currently out on general submission in America. The second novel, Little Aunt Crane, begins with the withdrawal of Japan from China at the end of the Second World War, and is about a young Japanese girl who gets left behind and sold to a Chinese family.

Rebecca Carter, who has been responsible for bringing a number of Chinese authors into the English language, says, ‘Geling’s work is a revelation to me. Her understanding of character, her ability to make historical events seem as if they are unfolding in front of the reader, and the skill with which she tells a story are all incredibly exciting. I can see exactly why Zhang Yimou wanted to make the film of Nanjing Heroes. It brilliantly evokes huge events through the intimate, moving story of a group of characters trapped together and under threat. I can’t wait to see Christian Bale in the lead role, and I can’t wait for readers to discover these books. Geling is one of China’s most important contemporary writers and it is high time she was better known in the UK.’

Born in Shanghai in 1959, Yan Geling served with the People’s Liberation Army during the Cultural Revolution, starting aged 12 as a dancer in an entertainment troupe. She published her first novel in 1985 and has now written over 20 books and won 30 awards. Her works have been translated into twelve languages, several have been adapted for film, and she also writes film scripts (including that for Zhang Yimou’s adaptation of Nanjing Heroes). She may be only person in the world who is concurrently a member of China’s Writers’ Association and Hollywood’s Writers’ Guild of America. She currently lives in Berlin.

For further information, contact:
Rebecca Carter, Editor at Large, Harvill Secker:
Marysia Juszczakiewicz, Agent, Peony Literary Agency: