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Shan Sa

France (b.1972)

Shan Sa was born in Beijing, China, to a scholarly family. Her real name is Yan Ni Ni; she adopted the pseudonym Shan Sa, taken from a poem by the Tang dynasty poet Bai Juyi. At age 8, she published her first poetry collection, and went on to obtain the first prize in the national poetry contest for children under 12 years, an event that created a public upheaval. After graduating from secondary school in Beijing, she moved to Paris in August 1990 thanks to a grant by the French government. Settling there with her father, a professor at the Sorbonne University, she quickly adopted the French language. In 1994, she finished her studies of philosophy. From 1994 to 1996 she worked as a secretary of painter Balthus. Thereafter she published her first two novels and a collection of poetry, meeting with great critical acclaim. In 2001 she reached the top of her success with the publication of her most famous book so far, "The Girl Who Played Go" (a.k.a La Joueuse de Go). The book received good feedback from readers and was awarded a number of prizes, including the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens (Prix Goncourt of the High-school students).