Date
12 December 2018
Two of Liu Yi-chang's novels had inspired movie director Wong Kar-wai in making his award-winning films 2046 and In the Mood for Love. Photo: Internet
Two of Liu Yi-chang's novels had inspired movie director Wong Kar-wai in making his award-winning films 2046 and In the Mood for Love. Photo: Internet

Writer Liu Yi-chang, a giant of Hong Kong literature, dies at 99

Liu Yi-chang, a celebrated novelist who was born and grew up in Shanghai but had settled in Hong Kong since 1957, has died. He was 99.

Liu’s wife told media that he had been admitted to hospital for 10 days due to pneumonia before he died of heart failure on Friday at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

He passed away peacefully just like a person falling into a sleep, his wife said.

Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah expressed sorrow over Liu’s passing. Lau regarded Liu as a master of Chinese literature who had a lifelong devotion in promoting Hong Kong literature.

“Generations of local writers have benefited from Prof. Liu’s contributions,” Lau said in a statement. “His passing was a great loss to the cultural sector. He will be remembered fondly.”

Liu’s works are known for appealing to both the high-brow and popular taste.

Liu was born on Dec. 7, 1918. He graduated from St. John’s University in Shanghai in 1941. During his writing career, Liu also worked as editor of a number of newspapers in Hong Kong, alongside publishing novels. He found the monthly journal Hong Kong Literature in 1985.

In 2011, Liu was honored with the Bronze Bauhinia Star for his contribution to Hong Kong literature.

He was a prolific writer who earned a lot from pursuing his literary passion.

In the 1970s, Liu was reported to have bought a 600 sq. ft. flat in Taikoo Shing for some HK$100,000 in a single payment. The value of the property has risen by several dozen times since and is now estimated to be worth around HK$10 million.

Among his works, Liu had once said that the novel The Drunkard was one of his favorites. It is described as China’s first “stream of consciousness” piece.

The work, along with another novel of his, Intersection, had inspired Hong Kong film director Wong Kar-wai to make the award-winning films 2046 and In the Mood for Love.

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TL/JC/CG

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