Bi Shumin, popularly known as China’s “angel of literature,” published her new book, Life Needs Warmth and Light, in November. The work appeals to the chronically depressed to seek hope before suicide.
Born in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in 1952, Bi joined the army at the age of 17 and spent 11 years training as a combat medic.
When she arrived in Beijing and had the chance to choose her own studies, Bi decided to pursue a career in medicine while studying for a master’s degree in Chinese at Beijing Normal University.
After 20 years as a doctor, Bi embarked on a writing career in 1987. She has published more than 2 million words to date.
1987 was the year of Bi’s debut book Kunlunshang, a collection of heavy and depressing short stories. She followed up her collection with the novels Red Prescription, Save the Breasts, Female Psychologist and Flower Surgeon.
After that heavy debut, Bi began exploring other themes with articles that drew on her psychological experience. Life Needs Warmth and Light, another of her books, marked a soft and encouraging turn.
The book related many experiences from her medical career, as well as short narratives about small animals and plants that offered readers happiness in small doses.
Readers praised Bi’s work, noting that her psychological training helped her to craft words that would be simple and yet comforting and encouraging.
In addition to the new book’s obviously warm cover, the volume is peppered with colorful pages designed to offer a relaxing break from the black and white text.