Experts hail Cao Wenxuan's award win

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Experts at the ongoing Bologna Children's Book Fair have hailed Chinese writer Cao Wenxuan's win of the Hans Christian Andersen Prize, saying they expect enhanced Sino-Western publishing exchanges.

Cao Wenxuan on Monday became the first Chinese author to ever win the prize, which was awarded by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in Italy and is considered as the highest international recognition in the field of children's literature.

Zhang Mingzhou, executive committee member of IBBY and general manager for international cooperation of the China Children's Press & Publication Group (CCPPG), said Cao's works have opened up a new aesthetic field in Chinese children's literature.

"His Chinese stories have reached hearts of children all around the world, and for his lasting contribution to children's literature he deserves the recognition as a foremost writer of China's literature for children," he told Xinhua.

Zhang highlighted the artistic value of outstanding Chinese authors besides award-winning Cao, such as Gao Hongbo, Jin Bo, Bai Bing and others.

Zhang noted that Cao's award win followed a series of nominations of Chinese authors for the Hans Christian Andersen Prize during the recent more than two decades, including Sun Youjun in 1990, Jin Bo in 1992, Qin Wenjun in 2002, Wang Xiaoming in 2004, Zhang Zhilu in 2006, Liu Xianping in 2010, and Xiong Liang in 2014.

Cao's award win, according to Zhang, will be an extraordinary driver for the "internationalization" of China's literature and publishing for children.

He noted that in the past few years Cao has taken part in many events at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, and his books have been translated into many languages.

China's presence at the Italian fair, a key international event for professional operators in the world of children's publishing, has strengthened through the years, with a growing number of titles -- this edition as many as 3,300 -- presented at the China's pavilion, of which many have been translated into other languages.

Elena Pasoli, group product manager at the fair, confirmed to Xinhua that China's role has been "extraordinary" in recent years and also in view of 2018, when the Asian country would likely be the fair's guest of honor with high level delegations, exhibitions and meetings on children's books.

"We already have nearly 500 square meters of Chinese books, whose quality level has significantly grown in recent times," she said. China's collaborations with Western partners have been rich and fruitful, she added, expressing confidence that "China's participation will further grow in the future."

Pasoli also unveiled a plan to dedicate an exhibition area in next edition of the fair to the China-proposed "Belt and Road" initiative, in order to bring the theme closer to children, also with the contribution of other Asian countries connected by the new Silk Road in some way.

Chinese Board on Books for Young People (CBBY) President Li Xueqian said to Xinhua that book firms in China have taken an active attitude towards exploring international markets and many publishers are working to offer more high-value works for readers around the globe.

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