NEW YORK—PEN America mourns the loss of poet Meng Lang, who died last week in Hong Kong of lung cancer.

Meng Lang had a renowned decades-long career as a poet, writer, and editor, and was a major influential figure in several Chinese poetic movements and in poetry from the Chinese diaspora. Meng Lang was also a founding member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, and was a champion for dissident Chinese writers and editors. Earlier this year, Meng Lang edited a poetry anthology commemorating the death of writer, dissident, and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died in 2017 from liver cancer after years of imprisonment.

Meng Lang’s death was confirmed by Connecticut College professor Yibing Huang and by poet and Vice-President of PEN Hong Kong, Tammy Ho.

“Meng Lang embodied the highest values of what we like to call literary citizenship,” said Chip Rolley, Senior Director of Literary Programs at PEN America and Director of the PEN World Voices Festival, who first met Meng in the early 2000s. “He was an exquisite poet, a publisher and promoter of the work of colleagues, a courageous activist, and a strong believer in freedom and human dignity. If literature and creative expression are to flourish, it will be because poets and writers everywhere follow his example.”


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT: Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager: