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Helping Chinese writers win more fans abroad

By Mei Jia | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-07 06:59

Writer Liu Zhenyun is selected as the first "reading ambassador" of the 30-year-old Beijing International Book Fair for the next five years. [Provided to China Daily]

Writer Liu Zhenyun returned on Tuesday from a 20-day trip to seven European countries, including the Netherlands, Italy, France and Germany. There he observed obvious changes in Western readers' perspectives about Chinese literature.

"Twenty years ago, their interest was only confined to works on Chinese society and politics, which misled a bunch of Chinese writers to go for shortcuts and seek to be opportunists, and thus China became a strange country through their pens," says Liu.

"But now, Western audiences care more about the depth of life represented in Chinese literature," he adds.

Liu shares how European readers he met analyzed his novel, I Did Not Kill My Husband, translated by Sylvia Li-chun Lin and Howard Goldblatt, which is about a rural woman, Li Xuelian, reclaiming her reputation after being wrongly judged by her husband.

"The French readers say they are impressed by Li, who spends 20 years trying to right a wrong," says Liu.

The introduction of more Chinese books by top writers to overseas readers has made the change, says Liu.

The Chinese Culture Translation and Studies and Support group, under the Ministry of Culture, is one of the main organizations pushing the books abroad, as it offers a joint platform to protect copyright while increasing Chinese writers' overseas influence and appeal.

Meanwhile, at its Forum on Overseas Translation and Communication of Famous Works of Chinese Contemporary Literature last week, it focused on works by top writers, and released a guide of 40 recommended works from Chinese contemporary literature under the title Discover Chinese Literature.

An introduction in English and selected translations are available in the guide.

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