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Children’s literature prize to Beijing professor

HONG KONG (SE): A Beijing-based author, Cao Wenxuan, has become the first Chinese person to win the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award for children’s literature, often dubbed the Little Nobel Prize for Literature.

The judging panel said Cao was a unanimous choice for the prize, because he writes beautifully about the complex lives of children facing great challenges.

Cao is a professor at Peking University in Chinese and children’s literature, and a well-known and highly decorated author in his home country.

The British Broadcasting Corporation reported on April 5 that Cao grew up in poor circumstances and quoted him as saying that he writes about his own life and upbringing,

“My home village was well known for its poverty. Day in and day out, my family lived with deprivation.”

He said, “I would gather grass from the riverbanks. Mother would diligently stir fry it in an oil-less steel wok, saying she was making me a dish of stir-fried leeks to eat.”

The International Board on Books for Young People, which choses recipients of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, noted, “His childhood, though materially poor, was emotionally and aesthetically rich.”

This is apparent in his writing.

Andersen was a Danish writer of the mid-19th century, best remembered for his beautiful fairy tales.

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