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A pauper to a king

By Yang Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2021-07-30 09:05

A view of Dengwan village, Hubei province, where the writer grew up. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The story not only earned him 10 yuan ($1.55), but also made him a star in the school.

"Before that day, I was invisible," he says.

With mediocre results in his college entrance examination, Deng went to a less well-known college of science and technology to study Chinese language and literature. At the college, he spent a lot of time voraciously reading Chinese literary works by Zhang Wei, Chi Li, Mo Yan, Jia Pingwa and Wang Anyi.

Despite completing all his courses with excellent grades, he graduated without certificates because he did not have money to pay the school fees for his final two years.

As a result, he could only find low-paying jobs-writer for an advertisement company with a monthly salary of 600 yuan, publicity worker for a glasses store, or secretary to a company's boss.

At the end of 2008, he got a job at a timber mill in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu province. In his free time, he loved watching Kunqu Opera. One day, one of his friends sent him a link to Kunqu Opera performances on entertainment review site Douban.

Deng will never forget the day, May 3, 2009, when he registered on Douban as a user named "Kingdom on the Paper". He started writing essays and short stories about his hometown, posted them on the website and gradually attracted more readers.

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