Chinese children’s book author #CaoWenXuan wins world book prize

Chinese children's book author #CaoWenXuan wins world book prize
JISHOU, HUNAN — Beijing author and literature professor Cao Wenxuan 曹文轩 has won the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen book award for children’s literature. Cao, 62, has written many children’s books, including Bronze and Sunflower (above), all of which have become beloved classics for two generations of readers. Cao is a professor of literature at Peking University 北京大学。 Born to a poor family in rural Jiangsu Province, Cao spent most of childhood barely having enough to eat, but he retains fond memories of country life. Many of his books are set in the countryside during the 1950s and 1960s. Bronze and Sunflower tells the story of a girl, Sunflower, during the Cultural Revolution. Her father is compelled to leave his job in the city to work in the countryside, and Sunflower accompanies him. When her father dies, Sunflower is taken in by the family of her friend, Bronze. Bronze is mute and illiterate, and Sunflower teaches the boy how to read and write. The process opens up a whole new world for Bronze as the two children become like brother and sister. Cao has already won several book prizes in China. This is his first international award. Details at BBC News. ...

Accolades might go to my head

Accolades might go to my head
JISHOU, HUNAN — A couple of weeks ago I got an award from Hunan Province. When I came back, my deans wanted to see my plaque and medal, and were quite pleased. Then we had National Holiday and Mid-Autumn Festival, and I kind of forgot the whole thing. Then two days ago I got word that some leaders of the university and the Xiangxi prefecture wanted to meet me. Naturally, under such circumstances, leaders don’t bother asking if you are free before scheduling a meeting. They give you a date and time, and expect you to work it into your schedule. It’s a Chinese thing. Anyway, I cancelled two of my oral English classes and headed on over to the main administration building. My deans were there, as were Anna from the Foreign Affairs Office, Jerry, my Chinese colleague, the v.p. of the university, and two gentlemen from the Xiangxi labor office. One I had met before, when I taught English teachers in Yongshun two summers ago. They presented me with this. It’s a tea cup made from 99.9% silver. OK. It’s not obvious, but the inside part is made of silver. Really. I may never drink from it, because ...

2012 Hunan Friendship Awards 2

2012 Hunan Friendship Awards
CHANGSHA, HUNAN — More than two years, my college nominated me for the Hunan Friendship Award 潇湘友谊奖. So, when my foreign affairs officer Anna called to tell me I won an award, it took me a minute or two to realize what she was talking about. It’s a pretty big deal here. Out of the 4,000 foreigners in the province, only 20 of us — six teachers and 14 businessmen — were selected for this biennial award. It’s given to foreign experts for contributions to “the economic and social development of Hunan Province.” The ceremony was last week. I got a metal-and-wood plaque (at right), a gold(-plated) medal, a classy red-and-gold pen, a red-and-gold thumb drive, a certificate, and a night in a ritzy hotel in Changsha. The governor of the province, Xu ShouSheng, handed out the awards. It may sound like nothing to an American, but in China government bigwigs only appear in public for really special events, like earthquakes or diplomatic visits. (In the photo above, Xu is front row center, next to the African-American woman, teacher Jackie Martin.) Besides all that, the uni picked up the tab for the round-trip bus fare and the two extra nights ...
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