Pen name of Li Shizheng, one of the best-known contemporary Chinese poets. He was born in 1951 in Beijing. He began composing his first poems in the early 1970s, when a cultural revolution was sweeping through China. Skilfully avoiding ruthless censorship, he quickly developed his distinctive, complex style, which enabled veiled criticism of the authorities. His first poems were published in underground publications, and the first volume of verse was not announced until 1988. Although critics often connected him with the group of the Misty Poets, which included Bei Dao or Gu Cheng, Duo Duo himself distanced himself from any literary currents or labels.
Having witnessed the bloody suppression of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, he decided to emigrate. For the next fifteen years, he lived in Great Britain, Canada, and the Netherlands. His works appeared in the Jintian literary magazine published outside of China. He did not return to China until 2004, when he was offered a position at Hainan University, where he has taught since.
Duo Duo’s literary oeuvre includes volumes of poetry and short stories, also published in English translation. His works were awarded several times. The poet received his most prestigious distinction in 2012, when he won the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. He was the first Chinese author to receive the award, often called the “small Nobel”.