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Chang Chieh did not take up fiction writing seriously until she was 40 years old, after the fall of the "Gang of Four" that signaled the end of the Cultural Revolution. But her success was almost immediate; in 1978 she won a short story prize for "The Music of the Forests," and later she received the prestigious Mao Tun Literary Prize for her novel Leaden Wings.
Her personal life was not happy; she divorced her abusive husband, and this was a social stigma in a society that was still quite traditional in its attitudes. Many of her earlier works center on themes of love and the dilemmas faced by women. In her exposure of male chauvinism and discrimination against women, she showed great courage.
As Chang Chieh aged, she began to tackle a broader range of themes, especially the social problems of nepotism, corruption, excessive bureaucracy, and political hypocrisy. But throughout her career she has been an unswerving Socialist, active in political movements, and committed to seeing China modernize along the lines envisioned by its Communist leaders. Despite poor health, she is mentally tough and often disregards her personal welfare in her zeal to attack and solve the social evils that impede China's progress.
(Bowker Author Biography)