JIN YONG, WANG SHOU AND OTHER POPULAR MODERN CHINESE WRITERS

POPULAR MODERN CHINESE WRITERS

20111122-amazon jin Yong.jpg ”Post-80s writers “refers to young writers that have grown up under the one-child policy and write about things that young readers can relate to. Among them are Guo Jingming, who was 24 in 2007 and wrote novels about adolescent love and isolation that are particularly popular with teenage girls; and Zhang Yueran, who was 25 in 2007. Guo edits a monthly magazine focused on “Post-80s writers “that has a circulation of over 500,000. He is regarded as one of richest writers iin China.

Many best-selling authors have their own branded magazines. Guo Jingming, China’s No. 1 top-selling writer, edits Top Novel, Girlneya (6) edits a self-titled magazine, and Ming Xiaoxi (11) is attached to Princess. Some observers suggested that Guo landed at the top of the list last year because of revenue from Top Novel. Zheng Yuanjie, China’s No. 2 top-selling writer, also runs his own magazine, King of Fairy Tales. The newspaper ascribes his high ranking to royalties from his considerable back-catalog, but the magazine might also have something to do with it.

Sichuan authors such as Guo Jingming, Yang Hongying, Sharon, and He Ma are among the most popular writers in China. Mai Jia from Sichuan is one of the only literary authors to make the bestseller list. All these authors work with publishers based outside of Sichuan.

Li Ximin, an author of thrillers who was propelled to national attention in May 2008 when he was trapped in a collapsed building for three days after the Sichuan earthquake.

Louis Cha, the author 15 novels, is considered the most widely read living Hong Kong author today. Interesting vernacular historical texts include “The Water Margin” by Jin Shentang, based on “The Dream of the Red Chamber”.

Xu Xi is an acclaimed Hong-Kong-based writer who writes gritty, realistic stories about Hong Kong in the 1960s. She has been named a finalist the Man Asian Literary prize, which recognizes Asian novels unpublished in English. British and American publishers have shown interest in her work.

Martial Arts Novelist Jin Yong

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Jin Yong is arguably the most widely read author in the Chinese speaking world and perhaps China's most popular writer. He writes lengthy kung-fu fantasies and has sold more than 100 million copies of books. Not every one is a fan. Wang Shou accused him of being a awful writer and said he had to "hold his nose" when he read Jin's work.

Jin Yong (also known as Louis Cha) is China's most popular writer of the Martial Arts (Wuxia) genre, It can plausibly be argued that he popularized the tradition of kung fu fighters that became a fixture of Hong Kong and Chinese films and eventually made their way to Hollywood. Jin was greatly influenced by Li Zongwu, a writer emphasized the dark side of Chinese society, the one that despite the official probity hides the fact that many people have a “lian hou xin hei “(“thick-skinned face and black heart”, ie, are shameless and harbor evil intentions)]

One of Jin’s best known works is “Xiao Ao Jiang Hu“, published in 1967. Variously translated as “The Smiling, Proud Wanderer“ and “State of Divinity“, it is based on a story about friendship and love, deception and betrayal, ambition and lust for power.

In the story, various parties are vying to recover a scroll that contains a powerful martial arts technique that can propel the owner to premiere leadership, but are eventually outdone by a young lad, Little Fox, who is devoid of all ambitions. The story deals with Little Fox's journey: his development as a swordsman and his witnessing the various intrigues which take place. Many warlords and fighters from six clans lust after the manuscript, among them the leader of a so-called Five Mountains Alliance.

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Despite the popularity of Jin Yong's novel, the symbolism of the six clans has never been coherently interpreted. The Five Mountains Clan might be taken to be an indirect reference to the five sacred mountains in China. The various clans have also been interpreted as a parody of one people with multiple political systems. Jin wrote, in a 1983 epilogue to his book, that the rival clans in his book personify “political prototypes “he observed in China during the Cultural Revolution, without being specific allegories to any particular persons or groups. He asserted, “Only what is rooted in our common humility can withstand the test of time and have lasting value.”

Jin's “Xiao Ao Jiang Hu “was originally serialized in his newspaper, the Ming Pao Daily of Hong Kong, as well as in 21 other newspapers in various languages. Its leading characters have sometimes surfaced in political dialogues around the world, with one politician accusing another of acting like Master Yue (hypocritically) or Master Zho (harboring secret ambitions to become dictator). The book has been adapted into three major movies (“The Swordsman,” 1991; “The Swordsman II,” 1992; and “The East is Red,” 1993) and a 40-episode TV series (“Laughing in the Wind”)]

“Laughing in the Wind“ is a story about friendship and love, deception and betrayal, ambition and lust for power which was originally titled “Xiao Ao Jiang Hu“ when it was published in 1967, and has been variously translated as “The Smiling, Proud Wanderer“ and “State of Divinity“ . The title “Laughing in the Wind“ refers to a piece of music jointly created in friendship by two elderly swordsmen of opposing clans, which eventually leads to their tragic deaths.

Martial Arts Novelist Liang Yusheng

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Liang Yusheng is another acclaimed martial arts novelist. Liang got started writing martial arts, or wuxia , fiction in the 1950s, and continued writing until the mid-80s. In 1984 he moved to Australia and largely vanished from the public eye, unlike his contemporary Louis Cha (aka Jin Yong). Liang passed away in Sydney on January 2009 at the age of was 85. [Source: Danwei.org, January 27, 2009]

Liang's most famous works are “Romance of the White-Haired Maiden“ , loosely adapted by Ronny Yu into the 1993 film “The Bride With the White Hair“, and “Seven Swordsmen of Mount Heaven“, most recently adapted by Tsui Hark into the 2005 film “Seven Swords“.

According to The Beijing News: “Liang Yusheng was born Chen Wentong on March 22, 1924, to an educated family in Mengshan, Guangxi. After the anti-Japanese war was won, Liang went to Guangzhou's Lingnan University to study international economics. After graduating he became editor of the supplement to Hong Kong's Ta Kung Pao newspaper. In 1954, a dispute in the martial arts world between the White Crane style and [Wu style] Tai-chi escalated from a war of words in the newspaper to an actual fight between the heads of the two schools. Lo Fu, who was general editor of the New Evening Post at the time, serialized Liang's “The Dragon Fights the Tiger“ to capitalize on martial arts fever. This novel is seen as the beginning of “new wuxia.” Over the three decades beginning in 1954, when he started writing “new wuxia novels,” through 1984, when he declared that he was “putting away his sword,” Liang wrote 35 novels in 160 volumes, totaling 10 million characters.”

In an interview with Lo Fu published a few years ago in Southern Metropolis Daily, journalist Li Huaiyu provides some details about newspaper politics at the time Liang started writing: “The New Evening Post's big news headline on that day was “Two fighters face off at 4 o'clock before 5,000 Hong Kong spectators.” Having a flash of inspiration, Lo Fu persuaded Liang Yusheng to write a wuxia novel. The day after the fight, New Evening Post ran a notice that it would serialize wuxia fiction to satisfy readers' desire for fighting. The following day, “The Dragon Fights the Tiger“ , the product of “one day of planning “on Liang's part, began publication. Later, Lo invited Louis Cha to “join the fight,” and thus “The Book and the Sword shook the world“.”

Lo said, “There was the new Commercial Daily, you see, and they saw the readers the New Evening Post was getting by running Liang's wuxia fiction, so they asked if he could write for them. We had to agree to that, because we had to support the Commercial Daily, you know. We had launched it as a leftist paper to take over from Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po, which had been involved in a lawsuit with the Hong Kong government that accused Ta Kung Pao, Wen Wei Po, and New Evening Post of instigating social unrest. The three papers could potentially have been shut down, so we immediately began plans for another paper, the Commercial Daily. But when we had it about ready, the lawsuit ended with the other papers not getting shut down. So the Commercial Daily carried on, but we decided to turn it into a more neutral paper to attract more readers. The content would be more plebian and not so leftist. Since wuxia attracted readers, we naturally let Liang write for them. But we had to have it too, so we immediately found Louis Cha, who was quite happy to do it.”

Books: A list of Liang Yusheng's novels is available on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liang_Yusheng

Wang Shou, the Chinese Leonard Elmore

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Wang Shou was the undisputed king of Chinese pulp fiction in the 1980s and 90s. Described by the Communists as a hooligan, he wrote about disaffected youth and loveless cynicism in Beijing. Over 10 million copies his books have been sold. Today his books are available on the Internet. A couple were made into successful films.

Wang life is not much different from some of the grungy characters in his books. While he was young his parents were sent away to a Cultural Revolution re-education camp and he grew up without much adult supervision. He ate at a community canteen, lived with his older brother and subsisted off his parents salaries. As a teenager he skipped school often and ended up in jail from time to time. After one run in with the law, his father forced him to join the navy, where he published his first short in a military magazine for $5.

After being released from the navy he worked for a while as a smuggler and an employee at a pharmaceutical firm before taking up writing as a career. In 1991, bored with novel writing, Wang began producing scripts for television and film. He had relationships with a Communist Youth League secretary and an stewardess before marrying a dancer, with whom he had a daughter.

Wang Shou Books

Wang’s streetwise and sarcastic dramas, such as “Tales From the Newsroom”, about two ridiculous Mao-loving editors, were big hits. His first novel, “Stewardesses” (1984), was about a sleazy relationship between a young flight attendant and a discharged sailor. His most popular book, “Hot and Cold, Measure for Measure”, was about a college girl, seduced by a lowlife ex-con, who then becomes a hooker and finally commits suicide.

The main characters his 20 other best-selling novels include prostitutes, gangsters, drifters and other unsavory creatures from the dark side of Chinese life. More than a dozen of his books have been made into films, and television drama.

Many say Wang's masterpiece is “Playing for Thrills”. It is about hard, drinking, womanizing gambler who spends the better part of his life drinking, gambling and chasing women, and may have been involved in a murder. It was a best seller in China. “Please Don’t Call Me Human” is also very good. It is about martial arts athelete who learns about greed as he aims to win a gold medal. Both books have been banned in China and translated into English.

Censorship and Wang's Work

In 1996, Wang's works were banned as "reactionary" and "vulgar." Two television shows he scripted were kept from being aired and two movies were cut to pieces by censors. One of the films, “Papa”, was about a boy beaten up by gangsters and then taken to the hospital during the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations. "Based on last year's standard this would have been approved," he said.

The prohibition of Wang's work was part of a "spiritual civilization," a 15,000-word directive by Jiang Zemin that aimed not only to crack down on criticism of the Communist party but also on anything that encouraged "social vices."

A commentary in the People's Daily seem to have Wang in mind complained that some artists and writers are "bent on describing normal people's trivial affairs, tempests in teacups, even to the point of including bedroom scenes. Not only did the works of some artists lose their ideals and sink into moral depravity they even went so far as to ridicule noble values and promote the worship of hedonism and extreme individualism. This situation cannot but draw the proper attention and anxiety.”

Wang had to remove a shower scene in which men were filmed from the waist up and scrub an entire film about an extramarital affair. "The lovers didn't even kiss, Wang told the Washington Post. "But [the censors] felt that popularizing an immoral relationship is immoral. With “Bridges of Madison County”, it was okay to watch you Americans have extramarital affairs because we think you guys are all immoral anyway." When his work gets banned, Wang says that he spends most of his time playing poker.

Wang Wenxing

Film: “The Man behind the Book“ (2011) by Jingjie Lin is documentary takes viewers through Wang Wenxing's growth as a novelist from his earliest short stories to his stylistically radical novels. Highlights include a rare close-up view of his writing process, the development of his unique style, and comments from prominent scholars. Through innovative presentations of animation, stage and musical performances, as well as scenes from his daily routine, the film offers an insightful look into the man and his work. English subtitles are available. A one-minute preview of the film can be found at http://fisfisa.pixnet.net.

Book: “Endless War: Fiction and Essays“ by Wang Wen-hsing, editors: Shu-ning Sciban and Fred Edwards (Cornell East Asian Program, Cornell University, 2011). This translation anthology consists of all of Wang’s twenty-two short stories, as well as one novella, one play and five of his essays that contain his essential ideas about modernist literature, literary language and his own writing. In addition, an introduction to Wang’s life and writing career, a chronology of Wang’s life and a bibliography of Wang’s works are also included.

Liu Qingbang: Miner Turned Writer

Yang Guang wrote in the China Daily: “If you introduce yourself as a friend of Liu Qingbang in mining areas across China, people will treat you to a glass of white liquor. The 61-year-old is hailed as the "king of short stories" and fellow writers view his works as "textbooks". Most of his works adopt miners as the protagonists. "The most frequent motifs of literature, such as the relationships between men and nature, men and death, and men and women, are brought into full play in the dark and grave underground," he says. [Source: Yang Guang, China Daily, September 18, 2012]

For instance, the struggle of human nature is fully demonstrated in his Lao She Literature Prize-winning novella Sacred Wood, whose film adaptation Blind Shaft won the Silver Bear at the 2003 Berlin Film Festival. Criminals and drifters Song Jinming and Tang Zhaoyang live on the compensation money they extort from scams, such as befriending a naive man looking for a job and telling him that they know of a job at a coal mine. Once they go down the shaft, they murder the victim and pretend it is a case of accidental death, and then collect payoff money from the mine owners. But the situation gets out of control when a new victim, 16-year-old Yuan Fengming, turns up.

Liu grew up in a rural village in Shenqiu, Henan province. Life was hard on the barren plain. He had little chance to read during his childhood and adolescence apart from fragments of picture-story books. During the "cultural revolution" (1966-76), he joined millions of red guards in the "link up" movement from late 1966 to early 1967, when students cut classes and traveled across the country to propagate former chairman Mao Zedong's beliefs. Having witnessed the flourishing city, Liu decided he had enough of the countryside. His effort to join the army failed, however, since his father had been condemned as a counter-revolutionary.

After graduating from junior high school, he had to return and labor in the fields. When the local coal mine was recruiting in 1970, he seized the opportunity and became a miner. It was then that he began to write, mainly news reports about miners' lives for the county broadcasting station. After working underground for a year, he was selected to join the publicity department of the mining bureau because of his talent for writing. "Working in the coal mine gave me an opportunity to see a purgatory-like world," he remembers. "Facing my fellow miners, I realized my insignificance and impotence. All the hardships I had endured became nothing."

Liu moved to Beijing in 1978, working as a reporter and editor with a newspaper in the coal industry. In 2001, he became a professional writer with the Beijing Writers' Association. Some say the way to understand China is to understand Chinese farmers, while for Liu, the way to understand Chinese farmers is to understand Chinese miners. He explains that most miners are farmers who choose to leave their fields and make more money; while most mining areas are located in an urban-rural fringe zone, where life is a hybrid of urban and rural traditions.

Liu still visits mining areas for part of the year. "The humid air underground and the rumbling of the machines awakened my memory," he says. Having lived in the capital for more than 30 years, Liu says the countryside he once wanted to escape from now tugs at his heartstrings.

"I was fed with the grains, wild herbs and even bark growing on that plain. Everything there has turned into the blood flowing in my vessels. I will remember that land as long as I feel my blood pulse."

Since 2011, he has been working on a series of short stories about nannies in Beijing. Liu says he had been thinking of how to portray contemporary Chinese urban life and picked on the nanny group because they are a large group and are sensitive to human nature. "The urban-rural divide still exists," he says. "The clash between rural nannies and their urban employers reflects the common conflicts of China's transitional period." Liu plans to go to a coal mine in Shaanxi province later this year to prepare for his next novel, about the lives of family members of miners who died in a gas explosion eight years ago.

Di An: the Quintessential Post-80 Writer

Yang Guang wrote in the China Daily: “Guo Jingming and Han Han have long been considered as representatives of the post-1980 writers, who emerged from the New Concept Writing Competition, an annual event initiated by Shanghai-based Mengya magazine in 1998. But Guo says the best representative of his generation of writers is neither Han nor himself, but 29-year-old Di An. "Both of us have been engaged in many other businesses and are not pure writers anymore," he explains. [Source: Yang Guang, China Daily, August 21, 2012]

Guo is a successful businessman as he owns a culture company in Shanghai and serves as deputy chief editor of Changjiang Literature and Arts Publishing House; while Han has devoted much of his energy to being a professional rally driver and blogging.Over the years, post-1980 writers have prospered with their teen romances, despite criticism of lacking substance and literary value. "What's outstanding about Di An is that she not only achieved market success but also won literary accolades," Guo says.

Born in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, Di An was born Li Di'an. She adopted the pen name Di An when she started publishing in 2003. This might also be seen as a gesture of independence from her renowned writer parents Li Rui and Jiang Yun. With several sought-after novels and literary awards under her belt, Di An has perhaps surpassed her parents in terms of market influence. After her mother Jiang Yun delivered a speech on a literary seminar two years ago, she was addressed as "Di An's Mom" when taking questions from fans on Sina Weibo (China's Twitter).

Tall, slim, and well dressed, Di An deserves the nickname her fans have handed her - "Di the Pretty". Her signature innocent look, like a frightened deer, never fails to draw affection. She received the following comments, when selected as the "promising young writer" by the Chinese Literature Media Awards judging panel in 2009: "She has the ambition to master the Chinese language and represent the youth of her generation. Her writing is based on individual experience, but she always remembers to reflect how much of it was shaped by the value of her previous generation." Di An agrees with this, adding the soul of post-1980 writers is their emphasis on individual experience, instead of collectives. "Opinions might be divided regarding this concept of the enlarged individual, but for me it's unique and valuable," she says.

Di An’s Writing Career

Yang Guang wrote in the China Daily: Di An’s “writing career has been smooth sailing from the start. Her debut novella, The Sisters' Jungle, was published as the headline piece in the prestigious Harvest literary magazine in 2003. With the success of her Memory in the City of Dragon trilogy she became the country's youngest top-earning female writer, squeezing into the Chinese Writers' Rich List in 2010 and 2011. But Di An says she took writing seriously only after the "wasteland-like loneliness" she felt in France. After graduating from high school and studying history for a year at Shanxi University, she went to France in 2003 and returned with a master's degree in sociology, in 2010. [Source: Yang Guang, China Daily, August 21, 2012]

She remembers how she had to learn French like a babbling infant and how even the most trivial errands, such as filling an application form and paying the phone bill, became difficult for her because of the language barrier."Loneliness stimulates my desire to express, and writing gave me an outlet," she says. "If I hadn't studied overseas, perhaps I wouldn't have embarked on the journey of writing." Perhaps it is in this sense that she wrote: "Writing is not part of my life, but the way to fight against it."

The creation of the Memory in the City of Dragon trilogy started from Zheng Nanyin, a character's name that occurred to her one gloomy afternoon in 2008 when she was waiting in the corridor for class to start. She says the name conjured up in her mind the image of a cheerful teenage girl, and then the name was followed by three other names - Zheng Dongni, Zheng Xijue and Zheng Beibei. The story develops around the coming-of-age of four cousins of the Zheng family, a large family in a fictional small town in Northwest China. Published in succession, from 2009 to 2012, the trilogy has sold more than 2 million copies.

Di An admits the influence of her writer parents. "We had a lot of books at home and my mother used to read whatever she was reading to me." "I have liked reading stories, listening to stories and telling stories from very young, and this almost inherent obsession with storytelling is my principal driving force to write."

Highest-Paid Authors in China in 2008

Guo Jingming was in first place for the second year running on the list of China's richest authors. This year, the top ten positions have a combined income of 71.3 million yuan, 9 million more than last year. However, the value of the remaining 15 slots contracted from 43.5 million to 27.9 million. has been released. [Source: Wu Huaiyao, a reporter with China Business Post Danwei.org, December 2, 2008]

The Rankings (with last year's rank, if any): 1. (1) Guo Jingming, books and magazines: 13 million yuan 2. (4) Zheng Yuanjie, children's fairy tales: 11 million 3. (7) Yang Hongying, children's lit: 9.8 million 4. (5) Sharon, books for girls: 8 million 5. (-) Ma Weidu, Collector and Lecture Room author: 7.45 million 6. (-) Girlneya, author: 5.5 million 7. (2) Yu Dan, Lessons from Zhuangzi (Confucius): 5 million 8. (-) He Ma, breakout author of the Tibet Code series: 4.4 million 9. (-) Shi Kang , novelist and screenwriter: 3.6 million

  1. (-) Cang Yue, fantasy, 3.55 million 11. (-) Ming Xiaoxi, romance: 3 million 12. (-) Wang Xiaofang political intrigue: 2.8 million 13. (10) Yu Qiuyu - essays on culture and history: 2.65 million 14. (-) Wang Liqun Lecture Room author: 2.5 million 15. (22) Dangnian Mingyue - popular history about the Ming Dynasty: 2.3 million 16. (11) Cai Jun - thrillers, the Mysterious Messages series, 19th Level of Hell: 2 million 17. (-) Mai Jia - literary spy thrillers with sales driven by a popular TV adaptation; Mao Dun Prize winner: 1.8 million 18. (13) Han Han - fiction and essays; the author has a high-profile blog: 1.7 million 19. (24) Yang Zhijun Tibetan Mastiff series: 1.6 million

  2. (17) Hai Yan - crime fiction and TV adaptations: 1.55 million 21. (-) Chi Li - literary fiction; this year's Come, Child is a non-fiction work describing how she raised her daughter, who's now attending college in the UK: 1.35 million 22. (15) Annie Baobei - literary romance: 1.3 million 23. (3) Yi Zhongtian Lecture Room author: 1.2 million 24. (14) Bi Shumin mainstream fiction, Female Psychologist: 1.15 million 25. (-) Li Ximin thriller writer who was trapped for three days in the Wenchuan earthquake: 1 million

For comparison, the newspaper also called on ten literary critics to draw up a separate list of influential authors. There's no overlap whatsoever with authors on the bestseller list: The writers in this list are: 1. Mo Yan; 2. Shi Tiesheng; 3. Yan Lianke; 4. Yu Hua; 5. Bei Dao; 6. Han Shaogong; 7. Jia Pingwa; 8. A Lai; 9. Wang Anyi; 10. Su Tong; 11. Bei Cun; 12. Zhang Chengzhi; 13. Duo Duo; 14. Tie Ning; 15. Ge Fei; 16. Wang Shuo; 17. Chen Zhongshi; 18. Yu Jian; 19. Zhang Wei; 20. Han Dong; 21. Lin Bai; 22. Can Xue; 23. Zhai Yongming; 24. Li Rui; 25. Liu Liangcheng.

The list was started in 2006 by Wu Huaiyao, a reporter with China Business Post. Wu interviewed over 100 people working in the publishing industry in a number of major cities throughout the country to determine author incomes and identify general trends during a year. Author income was estimated based on an average author royalty rate of 10 percent multiplied by the number of copies of new books and additional printings of older books between November 2007 and November 2008.

Problems withe figures on the list include: 1) Film and TV adaptations were not taken into account and authors are credited with income they may not have received yet. “Lecture Room presenter Wang Liqun says he hasn't received 2.5 million yuan in royalties because his three books, which together have around 600,000 copies in print, haven't sold out yet: he won't receive the total amount until they do.”

Highest-Paid Authors in China in 2009

Children's author Zheng Yuanjie seizes the top spot from writer and magazine publisher Guo Jingming. But other than that not much has changed from the previous year. [Source: Wu Huaiyao, Changjiang Times, Danwei.org (11/30/09): 1. (2) Zheng Yuanjie children's fairy tales: 20 million (+9) 2. (1) Guo Jingming books and magazines: 17 million yuan (+4) 3. (3) Yang Hongying children's lit: 12 million (+2.2) 4. (15) Dangnian Mingyue - popular history about the Ming Dynasty: 10 million (+7.7) 5. (-) Wu Xiaobo chronicler of Chinese entrepreneurial history: 7.6 million 6. (4) Sharon books for girls: 6 million (-2) 7. (-) Qian Wenzhong explicated the Three Character Classic for CCTV's Lecture Room: 5 million 8. (18) Han Han -fiction and essays; the author has a high-profile blog: 3.8 million (+2.1) 9. (-) Li Ke - The Story of Du Lala's Promotion and its TV, film, and stage adaptations: 3.5 million

  1. (9) Shi Kang - novelist and screenwriter: 3 million (-0.6) 11. (12) Wang Xiaofang Secretary to the Mayor and other novels of political corruption: 2.8 million (--) 12. (23) Yi Zhongtian Lecture Room author: 2.7 million (+1.5) 13. (13) Yu Qiuyu essays on culture and history: 2.4 million (-0.25) 14. (16) Cai Jun - thrillers, the Mysterious Messages series, 19th Level of Hell, and Who Am I?: 2.15 million (+0.15) 15. (5) Ma Weidu Collector and Lecture Room author: 2 million (-5.45) 16. (-) Liu Zhenyun popular novelist who moved 400,000 copies of his latest book, A Sentence Worth Ten Thousand Words : 1.8 million 17. (-) Cui Manli Ups and Downs , the “hidden rules for surviving life in a foreign enterprise: 1.75 million 18. (-) An Yiru poetry, fiction, and most recently an appreciation of kunqu: 1.6 million 19. (-) Wang Meng - the venerable novelist has a new book out on Laozi: 1.5 million

  2. (-) Yan Lianke Elegy and Academe, a satire about higher education: 1.35 million 21. (-) Alai - stories about Tibetan culture, most recently a Chinese-language adaptation of the epic of King Gesar: 1.3 million 22. (17) Mai Jia - literary spy thrillers with sales driven by a popular TV adaptation and now the ultra-violent movie The Message ; Mao Dun Prize winner: 1.25 million (-5.5) 23. (-) Ye Yonglie biographer and travel writer. This year he published a mammoth history of the Gang of Four: 1.2 million 24. (-) Kong Ergou A popular series about the underworld in the northeast: 1.15 million 25. (7) Yu Dan - Lessons from Zhuangzi: 1 million (-4)

How the China Authors' Rich List was Drawn Up

  1. First I would like to pay my respects in written Chinese to the rich authors. They are the defenders of the dignity and freedom of the Chinese language.[Source: Wu Huaiyao, Changjiang Times, Danwei.org (11/30/09)]

  2. The surveys to collect data for this years list began at the end of August and covered areas at the forefront of the country's book market, including Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, and Xi'an. Authors, publishers, wholesalers, printers, and online booksellers offered their cooperation and assistance, and I would like to thank them for that.

  3. The books covered were the authors' new works and additional printings of other major works in China (excluding Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan) between November 25, 2008 and November 25, 2009; less influential works were not incorporated because of statistical difficulties. A few authors who were not on the list last year but whose works sold in sufficient numbers are on this list this year.

  4. Royalties are not uniform for famous and unknown authors. Our base royalty rate this year of 10 percent was adjusted on an individual basis according to the results of our investigation and reflects as well as possible the actual income of these authors. In addition, we incorporated the royalty income of mainland-based financial authors. We must make clear that while some authors had sufficient royalties to make the list, they are left for the time being off because they are not mainland residents.

Image Sources: Amazon, University of Washington, Ohio State University

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated January 2013


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