Sharon Chung (1962- ) was born in Guangzhou, but grew up in Hong Kong. Chung started writing when she was a teenager. Her influences include Eileen Chang, Chiung Yao’s romance novels, and the classic Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber.
Chung published her first novel, A PINWHEEL WITHOUT WIND, in 1981, when she was only eighteen years old. It became an overnight sensation and sold hundreds of thousand copies in Taiwan and Hong Kong. PINWHEEL is a tender love story about a girl, Ningjing, who grows up in Northeast China during the Japanese occupation (Manchuria). She falls in love with a young medical student from Japan, but the romance is cut short by the upcoming Sino-Japanese war. Later, Ningjing meets Lin, a businessman and distant cousin, who becomes the love of her life, but he is already engaged. In the end, Ningjing marries a doctor and together they flee to Hong Kong just as the Northeast and other parts of China fall into the hands of the Communists. Fifteen years later, Ningjing, now a middle-aged woman, runs into Lin on the street. So much has happened, and nothing will ever be the same.
Chung went on to write several collections of short stories and poems. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a major in Film Studies, she emigrated to Australia. She received a two-year fellowship grant from the Australia Council of Art, with which she wrote OF LOVE AND DIAMONDS, before eventually returning to Hong Kong. In the decade since she has worked as a translator and screenwriter, but no longer writes fiction.
A film version of PINWHEEL, starring the renowned Chinese actress Zhou Xun, was released in 2001. In 2008, China Times in Taiwan published a revised edition of the novel, with a brand new essay by Chung recounting her childhood and her maternal grandmother’s life in Northeast China. The new edition again hit the bestseller list and sold over 20,000 copies. PINWHEEL is widely considered a classic of modern Chinese literature. ThinKingdom, the most prestigious literary publisher in China, acquired PINWHEEL in 2011, marking its first simplified Chinese publication.