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Nobel literature laureate finds connection with Chinese readers

By Fang Aiqing | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-03-13 10:22

The 2021 Nobel literature laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

After about one hour and a half on Tuesday night, the 2021 Nobel literature laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah sold around 100,000 copies of his novels at a Chinese livestream show on the short video platform Douyin, generating a profit of over 4 million yuan ($570,000). The number grew to 110,000 copies later that night.

During his talk with English teacher-turned livestreamer Dong Yuhui, the Tanzanian-born British author, 76, shared with Chinese netizens his hometown life and immigrant experience, his writing as an outsider and teaching as a literature professor, as well as how he's been continuously absorbing nourishment for creating from nostalgia, pain and silence.

Dong managed to connect Gurnah's life and writing with the numerous Chinese readers living and working far from home — Dong being one of them — who find it difficult to fit in the new environment, mostly in big cities, but also difficult to go back home and stay.

The show was the last public event of Gurnah's first China trip that began on March 5, during which he visited Shanghai, Ningbo of Zhejiang province, and Beijing, giving lectures and holding dialogues with Chinese writers including Ge Fei, Sun Ganlu and Nobel laureate Mo Yan.

The 2021 Nobel literature laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah talks with Dong Yuhui at a Chinese livestream show. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
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