In 1946, George Orwell articulated the reasons why he put pen to paper in an essay entitled Why I Write.
In this Web series, authors talk about their literary habits and reading preferences,
and examine Orwell's question that lies at the heart of being an author—why they write.

He Jiahong

Hanging Devils


Academic and author He Jiahong is one of China’s leading experts on criminal law. He obtained his doctorate in judicial science from Northwestern University in Illinois and is currently professor at the school of law of the People’s University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious academic institutions. He is also a presenter of legal programs on Chinese national television and writes extensively on legal matters.


Professor He has written several bestselling crime novels, including a series of four books featuring the character Hong Jun. The series has been translated into French and published by Editions De L’Aube. Hanging Devils, published by Penguin China this month, is the first of the Hong Jun novels to be translated into English.


Why I write
I write law books because it is my job. I write novels because it is my hobby.


Do you write every day? If so, how many hours? 
I write almost every day, 3-6 hours, depending on if I have other things to do, such as teaching and meetings.


Where do you work? Describe the physical domain of your writing space…
I write in a home office. It is a small room with a computer and some bookshelves in my apartment.


Worst source of distraction? 


Best source of inspiration? 
Real cases.


How often do you get writers’ block / doubt your own ability? 
Not often!


Contemporary writer in any medium who you never miss? 
I can’t keep up with everything people write (except for what I write myself!) so I probably always miss something.


Favorite book? 
Sherlock Holmes.


Favorite writer? 
Bernhard Schlink, the author of The Reader.


The book you should have read but haven’t?
Mo Yan’s novels.


You look back at the first thing you had published and think… 
I published a poem in Heihe Daily, a local newspaper in Heilongjiang Province in the northeast of China, on January 1, 1971. I think I was too young to understand poems.


How did you get started writing? 
I loved literature when I was a teenager. Frustrated with working on a state farm I decided to write a novel to prove my intellectual worth in late 1975. I finished the novel in two years, but it was not published.


Does writing change anything? 
I think writing has changed my life.


What are you working on now and when is it out? 
I am working on two research subjects now: one is the study of wrongful convictions in China; one is the study of judicial precedents in China. I think the work will be done by the end of 2014. It looks like the second book in the Hong Jun series might be published by Penguin in 2014 as well.


Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013

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Posted on: March 18th, 2013 by JFK Miller No Comments