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An accidental author

By Wang Ru | China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-04 08:11
Di An, writer [Photo provided to China Daily]

Di An didn't plan to follow her parents' footsteps to become a writer. But fate had different plans for the rich-list novelist, Wang Ru reports. 

Di An (pen name) says she was "surprised" to receive the People's Literature Award for her recently published book, Jingheng Street.

"I searched the web to learn about the award immediately after I heard I won it," she recalls. "I saw the names of famous writers on the list and felt a little tense. I didn't expect such a recognition."

She wanted to undertake an easier project after her previous novel was published in 2014.

But authoring Jingheng Street proved even harder.

"I started to write in 2016. But I felt something was wrong and stopped for a while before resuming," she says. "Every chapter was difficult."

The story is set in Beijing between 2013 and 2015, when a large number of mobile apps entered the market.

Guan Jingheng struggles to make a living as a migrant in the city. He devotes himself to developing an app called Fendie and hopes to change his life at any cost.

He engages in a romantic relationship with Zhu Lingjing, who works in an investment company. Guan uses their relationship to help his business but ends up losing in both business and love.

The awarding committee says Jingheng Street "integrates office politics, business startups, commercial wars and love in the city. It is well-written with detailed emotions and clear rationality, reflecting the era, social transformation and changes in people's relationships."

Di An says: "Anything I write will be judged by readers since the story is set in a time they've experienced. They'll assess whether it's reasonable or possible. That also made writing it tricky."

Di An says the original idea occurred to her in 2015.

"I listened to a song when I was driving on a highway. The song touched me and made me think of some unspeakable things about love. I realized I hadn't written a love story for a long time."

She finally decided to place her romantic plotline within a framework of startups.

"App development was a trend between 2013 and 2015," she says.

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