Children’s Literature Author Awarded with the Hans Christian Andersen Prize
Chinese children’s fiction book writer Cao Wenxuan was recently awarded with the Hans Christian Andersen Prize for 2016 during the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy. Cao is the first Chinese writer ever to win such an award and to be shortlisted in the highest international recognition given to an author and illustrator of children books. Cao was the unanimous choice of the jury due to his beautiful way of writing about the complex lives of children that faces great challenges.
Patricia Aldana, the Hans Christian Andersen Jury President 2016, cited Cao’s Bronze and Sunflower novel which was set during the time of the Cultural Revolution in a rural Chinese village and the Dingding Dangdang series, a story about two brothers with down syndrome that separately flee from their village to search for each other. Aldana said that the are deeply humanistic books because it have acknowledge that life can often be tragic for children which can be redeemed by human qualities and kindness they find when they need it the most. She said that Cao is an example of how writing wonderful prose and telling stories about children that are facing difficulties and challenges can attract a wide, committed child readership and helps to shape a literary tradition in China honoring the realities of children’s world.
Cao was born in a small rural village in Yancheng Jiangshu in 1954, where he spent his childhood in poverty. Nonetheless he was able to study at Peking University and now a professor of Children’s and Chinese literature. All of Cao’s stories are set in China and are all Chinese stories and at the same time stories of humankind. Recently Cao’s books are being published to the world and have already found fans from Britain, Germany, France and Italy.
Cao also wishes that the world will be looking into Chinese literature in a fair and open attitude, and more Chinese authors will make an effort in using a language that can be easily translated and be understood by the world. Literature has a fundamental artistic value and by winning the Hans Christian Andersen prize only confirms that Chinese children’s literature has a place in the world.
Cao wished that the world will increasingly look at China’s literature with a more fair and open attitude, and that Chinese authors will make an effort to use a language that is suitable for translation, a communication style that can be understood by the entire world.