A revealing list of writers

Updated: 2011-11-28 07:50

(China Daily)

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The annual List of Richest Chinese Writers, released on Nov 21, highlights a clear discrepancy.

When releasing the list, the organizers reminded the public of the social divide between rural and urban areas.

On the one hand, young people in first-tier cities have embraced the work of these writers propelling them to fame and fortune; on the other hand, tens of millions of left-behind children in rural China have little opportunity to enjoy such luxuries.

Over the past five years, millions of young readers in first-tier cities have made the works of these writers touchstones of the rapid changes transforming their lives, while a sample survey shows that nearly 58 million children in rural areas who have left behind by their migrant worker parents, are fortunate if they can find something to read aside from their text books.

Reading can influence the formation of a child's character and good books can benefit them for a lifetime.

Like their urban counterparts, the children of migrant workers should have access to books and be able to enjoy the pleasure of reading. Their parents should be able to buy them books as gifts and encourage them to read as early as possible, nurturing in them a love of books that might one day change their lives.

Good books can be a constant companion in life and they can unlock doors to future possibilities.

Reading provides food for thought, and the newly released list reveals much about what is occupying the thinking of our urban youth.

Some people say the writers on the list are popular but their works are just throwaway pop culture without any lasting significance. But through hard work, these writers have managed to capture the hearts and minds of millions of readers. These young people clearly feel these authors have something to say to them.

In this sense, the list reflects a social reality that is far more important than the actual names on the list and how much the writers earn. This is the true value and significance of the annual list of writers reaping the rewards of their writing.

The writers on the list deserve our attention as well as our congratulations. Hopefully, their success will inspire others to use the arts as a mirror for our times.

Only when writers, as well as other cultural practitioners, enjoy the fruits of their labors and the rewards of their intellectual property rights can there be an incentive to create and innovate.

China needs more such creative talent in its efforts to build its cultural strength. It also needs a more mature cultural industry that allows people to profit from their creative endeavors.

(China Daily 11/28/2011 page8)