Chinese writer Cao Wenxuan wins Hans Christian Andersen Prize 中国作家首次荣获国际安徒生奖
Chinese children's fiction writer Cao Wenxuan on Monday won the Hans Christian Andersen Prize 2016 at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in Italy, the first Chinese writer to ever win and be shortlisted in the highest international recognition given to an author and an illustrator of children's books.
"The unanimous choice of the jury, Cao writes beautifully about the complex lives of children facing great challenges," said Patricia Aldana, the Hans Christian Andersen Jury President 2016, announcing the winner of the prize's author award.
She cited Cao's Bronze and Sunflower, a novel set during the time of the Cultural Revolution in a rural Chinese village, and Dingding Dangdang series about two brothers with Down syndrome who separately flee their village and then search for each other, as "deeply humanistic" books, because they acknowledge that life can often be tragic also for children, who nonetheless can be redeemed by the human qualities and kindness they sometimes find when they are most in need.
"Cao is a great example of how writing wonderful prose and telling stories about brave children facing tremendous difficulties and challenges can attract a very wide and committed child readership as well as helping to shape a literary tradition in China that honors the realities of children's worlds," Aldana highlighted.
Born in 1954 in a small rural village in Yancheng, Jiangsu province, Cao spent his childhood in poverty. He nonetheless was able to study at Peking University and is now a professor of Chinese literature and children's literature.
When people achieve something, it is because they have a background, Cao told Xinhua soon after his award's announcement.
"And my background is China," he highlighted.
"All of my stories are set in China, all of them are Chinese stories, but at the same time they are the stories of humankind," he said.
Recently Cao's books have been making their way into the world and have found enthusiastic readers in Britain, France, Germany and Italy.