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List announces China's 60 richest authors

Updated: 2013-12-05 22:01
By Mei Jia in Chengdu (

The controversial Chinese Writers Rich List has become an indicator of the publishing and reading trends in the country.

The list, revealed on Thursday afternoon by publishing observer Wu Huaiyao and the Western China Metropolis Daily in Chengdu, Sichuan province, shows that writers of online literature, children's books and serious literature as well as celebrity writers earn the most, in terms of royalty income, in 2013.

Jiang Nan, who began as an author of online fantasy stories, tops as the highest paid author on the list of 60 writers, with 25.5 million yuan ($4.2 million) royalty earnings from November 2012 to this November.

Nobel literature laureate Mo Yan is listed second with 24 million yuan followed by “fairy tale king” Zheng Yuanjie with 18 million yuan.

“The income is more or less close to reality in my situation,” Zheng told China Daily in Chengdu.

“I view the rich list as a positive thing that highlights writers' work and efforts,” Zheng said.

Zheng said the list also shows children's publications are thriving in China.

“I'm also happy that the list may draw more attention from young people, perhaps inviting them to pursue careers in writing,” he said.

Wu started the list in 2006. Though he's been questioned by many for associating authors with wealth, Wu insisted that writers are respectable and deserve better lives for the works they've created.

“Writers should be as popular and beloved as celebrities,” Wu said.

Wu even invited the listed writers, together with the publishers, to put on a red carpet event.

On Thursday, actor Chen Kun and actress Jiang Wenli walked the red carpet at the event to show support for the writers.

The two film stars have published books in previous years.

In addition, TV anchor Meng Fei placed 19th on the 2013 list, and director Feng Xiaogang made 60th.

Established authors Yu Hua, Jia Pingwa and Su Tong all published heavyweight novels this year and made the list.

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