Renowned Chinese essayist Lin Qingxuan dies at 65
Updated 22:34, 23-Jan-2019
By Hong Yaobin

Chinese author Lin Qingxuan died at the age of 65, local media reported on Wednesday.

Lin, who once used pen names such as Qin Qing and Lin Li, was a celebrated writer, essayist, poet, and scholar, who won numerous prizes and enjoyed great popularity across the Strait.

Born in 1953, Lin grew up in a peasant family in Kaohsiung City in China's Taiwan. With a keen interest in literature, he decided to be a writer when he was only eight years old, and went on to become one of Taiwan's most famous authors.

Lin Qingxuan greets his readers at a seminar. /VCG Photo

Lin Qingxuan greets his readers at a seminar. /VCG Photo

Lin showed his intellect and talent for writing at a very young age. He started his career by publishing articles in local newspapers and won first prize in the Tainan writing competition during his high school days.

Lin spent his college years at Shih Hsin University, during which he published his first book, "Lian Hua Kai Luo." After graduation he worked as a journalist for several years before devoting himself to writing essays.

Drawing on his experience as a journalist focused on social issues, Lin's writing shows a deep understanding of society, delivering a close look at people's everyday lives and problems. 

Many of his literary works, including "Dear Mother," "Sui Xi" and "Sui Shun," revealed and criticized the social problems of his time.

Lin Qingxuan answers a reader's questions at a seminar. /VCG Photo

Lin Qingxuan answers a reader's questions at a seminar. /VCG Photo

Aside from his remarkable prose and focus on societal issues, Lin also received considerable acclaim for his Zen prose. 

One of most famous works in this genre is the "Bodhi Series," in which he recorded his introspection towards life and what he has learned about Buddhist philosophy.

Lin explained several complex concepts of Buddhism simply by writing simple stories happening in his daily life in his own inimitable style.

His recent work, which includes articles like "Running with Time," have been added into textbooks for primary schools both in the mainland and Taiwan due to their inspirational tone.

A screenshot shows Lin Qingxuan's last post on Weibo. /Photo via Sina Weibo

A screenshot shows Lin Qingxuan's last post on Weibo. /Photo via Sina Weibo

His last public message on Weibo was posted on January 22:

"When I walked through the forests, a dying sparrow shed some light on me, though living in the earthly reality with restrictions, we shall never lose a yearning heart for the sky, nor the ability to fly high."

Hailed as one of the eight masters of contemporary prose in China, the essay master has published more than a hundred books during his career.

(Cover image designed by Li Jingjie. /Comic portrait via VCG)