Simon Leys is the pen-name of Pierre Ryckmans, who was born in Belgium and settled in Australia in 1970. He taught Chinese literature at the Australian National University and was Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney from 1987 to 1993. His writing has appeared in The New York Review of Books, Le Monde, Le Figaro Littéraire, Quadrant and The Monthly, and his books include The Hall of Uselessness, The Death of Napoleon, Other People’s Thoughts and The Wreck of the Batavia & Prosper. In 1996 he delivered the ABC’s Boyer Lectures. His many awards include the Prix Renaudot, the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca, the Prix Guizot and the Christina Stead Prize for fiction.