Yan Lianke is an acclaimed writer of novels and short stories. The Henan province of his upbringing features prominently in his stories. His parents, illiterate farmers unable to put him through university, sent him to join the army, where he became a propaganda writer, before leaving and becoming a novelist. He holds a degree in Politics and Education from Henan University and a Literature degree from People's Liberation Army Art Institute.

His works include: Summer Sunset; Serve the People; Days, Months, Years (winner of the Lu Xun Literary Prize 2000). He received the 3rd Lao She Literature Award for his master work The Joy of Living. He was longlisted for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize for Dream of Ding Village. His works have been translated into over 10 languages and published in 20 countries.

Yan lives in Beijing.