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Cao Wenxuan on his writings, inspiration

INTRO:

Chinese children’s fiction writer Cao Wenxuan was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Prize 2016 at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy on Monday.

That makes him the first Chinese to ever win the highest international recognition given to an author and an illustrator of children’s books.

Lifestyles has an exclusive interview with the prolific writer.

PKG

According to Chinese children’s fiction writer Cao Wenxuan, Chinese stories must be written to talk to the entire world.

Cao made the remarks after receiving the 2016 award at the ongoing Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy.

He becomes the first Chinese author to ever win the Hans Christian Andersen Prize.

SOUNDBITE: CAO WENXUAN, Chinese Children’s Fiction Writer
“When people achieve something, it is because they have a background. And my background is China, a country that has weathered through numerous plights and disasters, which have provided so many special resources for so many artists. My stories are unique, they could only happen in China, but at the same time, the meanings behind them are about the entire humankind. I think that is the reason why I could win this award.”

In his view, children’s literature aims to provide people with the fundamentals of humane behavior, through moral principles, the beauty of language and a sympathetic soul narrated by highly literary stories as a pure form of art.

Many of Cao’s novels, short stories, and picture books have been translated into different languages including English, French, German, Japanese and Vietnamese.

Among them are The Straw House, Bronze and Sunflower, Red Tiles and Black Tiles, King Book, and A Feather.

So far, Cao has published over 100 works, which have been appreciated by millions of readers.

SOUNDBITE: CAO WENXUAN, Chinese Children’s Fiction Writer
“In the Western world, stories in children’s books may be happen in any place like in London or in Paris. But all my stories can only happen in China. I’ve told so many stories about China, but they also belong to the entire world.”

Cao explained to CNC that whether a book can make its way into the world, that is to say whether it is suitable for translation into other languages, is also a fundamental indicator of its literary value.

This is why he has so fully used a specifically Chinese language but at the same time has searched a universal portrait of life’s ebbs and flows, so to make sure that the most important messages of his books do not go lost.

Cao said the prize also reinforced his ample faith in the high place of Chinese literature for children in the world.

SOUNDBITE: CAO WENXUAN, Chinese Children’s Fiction Writer
“Chinese children’s literature is clearly powerful. And I am sure there will be other Chinese authors who will win the Hans Christian Andersen Prize in the future.”

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