Simon Leys

Belgian-Australian writer, sinologist and essayist

1935   -   2014

country of citizenship: Belgium
native language: French
languages spoken, written or signed: French
educated at: Catholic University of Leuven, National Taiwan Normal University
occupation: university teacher, linguist, translator, essayist, sinologist, poet lawyer, literary critic, writer
award received: Prix mondial Cino Del Duca, Prix Renaudot of essay, Prix Femina, Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres‎, Jean Walter Prize, Prix Stanislas Julien

Pierre Ryckmans (28 September 1935 – 11 August 2014), better known by his pen name Simon Leys, was a Belgian-Australian writer, essayist and literary critic, translator, art historian, sinologist, and university professor, who lived in Australia from 1970. His work particularly focused on the politics and traditional culture of China, calligraphy, French and English literature, the commercialization of universities, and nautical fiction. Through the publication of his trilogy Les Habits neufs du président Mao (1971), Ombres chinoises (1974) and Images brisées (1976), he was one of the first intellectuals to denounce the Cultural Revolution in China and the idolizing of Mao in the West.
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