Tributes to Hong Kong martial arts novelist Huang Yi

Writer famous for time-travelling epics adapted for TV dies of a stroke aged 65

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 April, 2017, 5:53pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 April, 2017, 10:27am

Tributes have been paid to Hong Kong wuxia novelist Huang Yi, who has died aged 65 after suffering a stroke.

Huang, whose real name was Wong Cho-keung, died in a public hospital on Wednesday with loved ones by his side.

Several of his martial arts works were turned into popular television series, such as A Step into the Past, – adopted from his novel Xun Qin Ji – which was broadcast on TVB Jade in 2001 and featured Louis Koo Tin-lok and Raymond Lam Fung.

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Huang studied at Chinese University’s fine arts department and majored in art history. After graduating in 1977 he worked as an assistant curator at Hong Kong Museum of Art for about 10 years.

In the late 80s, Huang, a lover of Chinese art, history and the Chinese classic I Ching, started to explore a new career as a writer, and picked the Chinese character Yi, or I, as his pen name.

Professor Ma Kwai-min, from Chu Hai College’s department of Chinese literature, told the Post that Huang had originally started off as a science fiction writer.

“He later switched to writing xuanhuan novels such as Xun Qin Ji, which combines historical backgrounds with a protagonist who travels through time,” Ma said, in reference to a genre of wuxia.

“Such fictions and novels are still being written and published on the internet, and they are popular, but Huang did it 20 years ago.”

Ma described Huang as representative of the novelists who rose to fame after Jin Yong, better known as Louis Cha, now 93. Cha’s 15 best-selling novels, written between 1955 and 1972, are devoured across the world by Chinese people of all ages.

Huang’s long-time friend Jane Liu, a fellow graduate of Chinese University, described him as “clever, knowledgeable and humorous”.

“Since the late 80s, he had lived with his wife and several dogs like a hermit in a three-storey house in Mui Wo, Lantau Island,” Liu said. “His schoolmates, including myself, would go there, have barbecue, and talk about all sorts of things ranging from arts and music.

“He was very healthy ... I am very proud of him, and it was no surprise that such a knowledgeable and talented person rose to fame as a novelist.”