BEIJING – The China Bookworm Press is delighted to announce the winners of the inaugural China Bookworm Literary Award, with the first prize going to 34-year-old Guangzhou native Wang Zhezhu for her novel The Train That Came To Its End.
The runner-up is Li Ziyue with I Am in the Red Chamber, You Are on the Journey to the West, with third prize going to Lin Weipan’s When a Cloud Meets a Sheet of Paper.
Wang Zheshu’s winning submission tells of a doomed train and the passengers onboard-their life stories, their thoughts and feelings, and the different ways they cope with the disaster that awaits them.
In their assessment the jury said Wang was ”a keen observer of the inner world of her characters who, in many ways, are representative of present-day Chinese … she paints the many slices of Chinese life with delicate strokes – the mixed emotions and dilemmas of the Chinese people, and ultimately, what it means to live in today’s complex Chinese society. The novel is not only well-crafted, but also exudes the kind of quiet warmth and wisdom that clearly comes from Wang’s sympathy and deep love for her characters. This is a small gem in today’s Chinese literature.”
Wang has previously published a short story collection and a novel, and her work has appeared in the anthology Best Chinese Novellas as well as leading literary journals in China.
The China Bookworm Literary Award was initiated in January 2015 to select a previously unpublished novel by a mainland Chinese writer. Entries for the award came from both published and unpublished writers across the country and covered a broad range of topics and styles. The judging panel for the award was made up of three distinguished literary figures – Guo Xiaolu (A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, I Am China), Karen Ma (Excess Baggage) and Eric Abrahamsen (Pathlight Magazine) – all of whom have worked with both Chinese- and English-language literature, as well as literary translations.
In second place, Li Ziyue’s I Am in the Red Chamber, You are on the Journey to the West, is ”a biting satire” about a migrant worker who receives a letter supposedly written by a relative and former Nationalist official promising great fortune. Unfortunately, he loses the letter, which sets forth a series of events that will take him from the city to his hometown and back to the city again. Li’s story is ”a critical commentary on the great social divide between rural and urban China and the many social ills such as greed, wanton desire and mercantilism that have plagued much of the society today. This tale has a lot of heart and is a story well worth telling.”
Based in Nanjing, Li Ziyue was born in the ’80s and is a director who has previously published novels, novellas and short stories.
Lin Weipan’s submission When A Cloud Meets A Sheet of Paper is a ”refreshing and whimsical” tale about two boys in the countryside, a story that ”contains rich language, intense monologues and elements of magical realism and streams of consciousness.” A copywriter from Fujian, Lin has published widely in literary journals in China.
The Bookworm and the China Bookworm Press heartily congratulate the winners of the 2015 Bookworm Literary Award and will publish in English translation the first and second prize novels in early 2016. The three winners will also receive cash prizes of 5,000 RMB, 2,500 RMB and 1,000 RMB, respectively.