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A pauper to a king

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

Deng's parents in front of their house in the village. [Photo provided to China Daily]

In 2011, he received a message asking whether he was interested in publishing a book. He thought it was a fraud but considering that he had nothing to be swindled of, he agreed. That year, his first book, Kingdom on the Paper, was published. He moved from Suzhou to Beijing, starting his career as a writer.

So far, he has published seven books, including collections of essays and short stories, and a novel. Some of his stories have been translated into Italian, English and Japanese.

In 2019, he saw a singer on TV perform a song called A River Separated Us Forever. He says it was at that moment, he suddenly felt there was a book waiting for him to write, because he grew up beside a big river and was familiar with the people and life on the banks of a major waterway.

At that time, Deng was working on a novella collection he had started in 2017. He planned to write three stories of 30,000 to 50,000 words each. However, when he finished the first, he says he felt there was an element that could be developed into an independent story, so he wrote the second, which gave him the inspiration to write the third. When he finished the third, he realized that it was another book.

He says he never wrote so quickly and smoothly, as if god had borrowed his hands to create the stories, and once he was touched, sentences would spring out of his body.

"Writing is such a splendid thing," he says.

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