HOME News Center News

Literary masters Gurnah and Ge Fei exchange ideas at ECNU


On March 6th, the Grand Neobay Cultural Arts Center witnessed a convergence of thoughts between two top writers from home and abroad—Gurnah and Ge Fei. A dialogue on “We Must Talk about Suffering” marked the beginning of a literary exchange journey across continents.

This was the first time the Nobel laureate Gurnah had visited China. This literary gathering attracted an audience of millions, both online and offline, resonating with writers and critics of ECNU who have created literary miracles on the banks of the Cherry River and the Liwa River.

“Those who avoid suffering cannot truly write. And those who explore history and time in their writing can better appreciate the value of suffering,” said Lei Qili, Vice President of ECNU. “The speeches of the two writers are not only a sharing of creative experiences but also the self-awareness and reflections of literary professors based on life experiences and critical practices.”

Han Weidong, President of Shanghai Translation Publishing House, believes that despite coming from different cultural backgrounds, the works of the two writers focus on two core themes: “fate” and “suffering”. “This dialogue is not only a dialogue between two outstanding writers but also a communication and exchange across two worlds, two cultures, and two types of lives.”

Abdulrazak Gurnah (born 1948, Zanzibar (now in Tanzania)) is a Tanzanian-born British author known for his novels about the effects of colonialism, the refugee experience, and displacement in the world. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2021.

Renowned writer and professor at Tsinghua University, Ge Fei, graduated from the Chinese Department of ECNU. He won the Mao Dun Literature Prize in 2019. In his works, “the desire for liberation and the passion of dreams are interwoven, and among rise and fall, success and failure, and joys and sorrows, individual characters and destinies resonate with grand historical movements and profound value reflections.”

Gurnah claimed, “You must talk about what causes your sufferings.” Ge Fei responded, “Life has many sufferings, and the suffering is fixed.” The meeting and dialogue of the two literary giants led the audience to explore the mysteries of creation and feel the power of life.

At the end of the dialogue, both online and offline audiences enthusiastically posed questions, and the atmosphere at the scene was extremely warm.

Author: Wicky Xu

Editor: Philip Nash, Joshua Mayfield