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Chinese writer Cao Wenxuan honored H. C. Andersen Prize

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Chinese children's fiction writer Cao Wenxuan has won the Hans Christian Andersen Prize at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in Italy. This makes him the first Chinese writer to win the highest international award for an author and an illustrator of children's books.

The judging panel said their decision was unanimous. They said he wrote so beautifully about the complex lives of children in challenging situations.

Cao said China's thriving society gives him all the inspiration he needs.

"China's real society supplies me with so many vivid and unique stories, which would be very fresh to children of other countries. All of my stories are set in China, all of them are Chinese stories, but at the same time they are the stories of humankind," Cao said.

Born in 1954 in a small rural village in Yancheng, Jiangsu province, Cao spent his childhood in poverty. He is now a professor of Chinese literature and children's literature at Peking University .

Cao has slowly been making a name for himself around the world, and his books are very popular in Europe especially. He says his books have qualities which can be appreciated on many different levels.

"What I tell are genuine Chinese stories, which can be read as stories for all human beings. I suppose that's why I'm winning. I don't write for a certain audience. When I write, I consider only the language, style and artistic nature of my words," Cao said.

Many believe Cao's award will be a real filip for Chinese publishing.

"I think Mr Cao winning the title will inspire China's publishing sector. It will encourage us to improve Chinese children's fiction. In addition, I think there should be more positive energy for the development of Chinese children's fiction," said Li Yan, vice president of China Publishing Group Corp.

The Hans Christian Anderson Award has been honoring outstanding authors and illustrators since 1956. It's sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People, a Swiss non-profit group committed to unifying books and children.

The prestigious award is handed out every other year, and laureates can only receive such an honor once in their lifetime.


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