Montreal-based Xue Yiwei has been hailed as one of China’s most charismatic literary stylists; however, his recently translated novel was banned in his home country. Dr. Bethune’s Children begins when a chance encounter in a Montreal supermarket inspires its narrator to write a series of letters to Dr Norman Bethune, the Canadian communist who brought modern medicine to China. In conversation with Linda Jaivin, Xue discusses his novel that illustrates the very human consequences of the distress and repression that have marked an entire generation.

Supported by the Consulate General of Canada, Sydney.

Xue Yiwei (International)

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Xue Yiwei is the author of 18 acclaimed books in Chinese, including five novels, five collections of short stories and novellas, and five literary essays. Ha Jin called him “a maverick in contemporary Chinese literature”, and his works have been translated into English, French, Swedish, German and Italian. The English version of Dr. Bethune’s Children, a novel banned in China for more than 6 years, has drawn international attention since its English publication in 2017. Yiwei lives in Canada.

Linda Jaivin (Australian)

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Linda Jaivin is the author of eleven books, a literary translator from Chinese specialising in film, and co-editor of the ANU's China Story Yearbook. She is also a prolific essayist, occasional playwright and first-time curator. Her first book, the comic erotic Eat Me, was an international bestseller. Her China memoir The Monkey and the Dragon, and novels A Most Immoral Woman and The Empress Lover all explore aspects of the foreign experience of China.