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Chinese authors share their love of literature in London

By Zheng Wanyin in London | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-10-26 21:43

Panel members engage with the audience at the Writing China – Roundtable with Five Renowned Chinese Authors event in London, England on Monday. [Zheng Wanyin / China Daily]

An event titled Writing China – Roundtable with Five Renowned Chinese Authors was held on Monday in London, England, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, or SOAS.

The roundtable, which was hosted by the Beijing Federation of Literary and Art Circles, and co-organized by the China National Publications Import and Export (Group) Corp, the Beijing Lao She Literature Academy, and SOAS, featured five acclaimed Chinese authors – Li Er, Xu Zechen, Qiao Ye, Zhou Xiaofeng, and Zhou Min.

The writers introduced their books to the audience, which cover a range of subjects, including the experiences of intellectuals in rural Chinese society, depictions of life in China in the context of mass urbanization, and the magical realism of children's literature.

Li Liyan, minister counselor for cultural affairs at China's Embassy in the United Kingdom, said literature, as a global language that encompasses humanities and emotions shared by mankind, can facilitate communication between China and the UK.

"Today's event provides us with a good opportunity to learn from each other, and I hope that Chinese writers will share more affluent literary works with the world, and British people could gain a better understanding of China by reading books from China," he said.

Tian Peng, a representative of the Beijing Federation of Literary and Art Circles, said the event at SOAS reminded him of Lao She, one of the most prominent figures in the history of modern Chinese literature, who, between 1924 and 1929, served as a lecturer in the Chinese section of the School of Oriental Studies, which later became the SOAS.

Tian said Lao She insisted on embracing the world, while at the same time retaining his national consciousness when writing, which embodies the spirit of mutual exchanges.

"And we shall continue on this path of open communication and mutual learning," Tian said.

The roundtable was part of the Beijing Federation of Literary and Art Circles' efforts to promote cultural exchanges between the East and the West. Prior to the SOAS event, similar sessions had been held in Berlin and Cambridge, England.

Jack Hargreaves, a Chinese-English translator who has been working in the field for seven years, said, although there has not been enough Chinese literature in the English market, he believes a "turning point" is approaching, as more Chinese books featuring universal genres are triggering interest around the world, including the science fiction novel The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin. Hargreaves said more Chinese-English translators with different academic backgrounds are appearing as well.

"I feel like there is a China wave around the corner," he added.

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