Wed, Sep 21, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Kung fu novelist takes publicity tour


Popular kung fu novelist Jin Yong (金庸), whose knight-errant novels have been devoured by Chinese-speaking people across the world, is in Taipei to attend a party marking the 30th anniversary of the Yuan-Liou Publishing Co, which publishes most of the Hong Kong-based novelist's works in Taiwan.

The Shanghai-born Jin -- Hong Kong's most eminent man of letters -- is visiting Taipei at the invitation of Yuan-Liou's founder, Wang Jung-wen (王榮文), for a series of celebratory activities, including the establishment of a Yuan-Liou Reading Studio in Taipei and the launch of "Jin Yong credit cards."

Jin, who has written 15 best-selling martial arts novels, met with a group of writers from Shanghai, including novelist Wang Anyi (王安憶), yesterday morning.

He was scheduled to meet with his Taiwan readers over a dinner party yesterday evening.

Most of Jin's martial arts novels have been adapted for films and televised drama series in the Chinese-speaking world. He is scheduled to preside over a ceremony Wednesday marking the launch of the "Yuan-Liou Jin Yong credit cards" designed to promote reading in Taiwan. The credit cards will be issued jointly by Yuan-Liou and the Taipei-based International Commercial Bank of China.

Jin arrived in Taipei Monday for a whirlwind visit. He met with Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Academia Sinica Vice President Ovid Tzeng (曾志朗) the first day of his arrival.

The soft-spoken Jin, now nearly 80 years old, is renowned not only as the author of the 15 kung fu novels but as a veteran reporter, publisher and political commentator. He was the founder of the Ming Pao daily and its sister publications.

Jin is considered one of the best and most prolific Chinese novelists of the modern era. But his 15 novels, written between 1955 and 1972, are more than just kung fu stories. Their pages burst with fantastic knight-errant tales of heroic swordsmen and beautiful heroines, intermingling romance, tragedy and comedy with cultural and religious values.

Universities around the Chinese-speaking world have formed Jin Yong fan clubs, sponsored seminars or opened classes on Jin's classic novels, in which readers can immerse themselves in their cultural heritage from the language, calligraphy, art, music, traditional costumes, cuisine and martial arts that they find in the novels.

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