Cao Wenxuan (C) attends the awarding ceremony of the Hans Christian Andersen Award in Auckland, New Zealand, Aug. 20, 2016. Cao Wenxuan, one of China's most popular authors of children's fictions, received the Hans Christian Andersen Award here on Saturday, becoming the first Chinese writer for the most distinguished international honor for children's literature. (Xinhua/Tian Ye)
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Cao Wenxuan, one of China's most popular authors of children's fictions, received the Hans Christian Andersen Award here on Saturday, becoming the first Chinese writer for the most distinguished international honor for children's literature.
Cao shared the prize, handed out every other year, with German illustrator Rotraut Susanne Berner who was absent from the grand prize-giving ceremony was attended by some 300 readers, publishers and members of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).
"Cao Wenxuan's books don't lie about the human condition," Patricia Aldana, president of the Hans Christian Andersen Award jury told the audience, "They acknowledge that life can often be tragic and that children can suffer."
Except for Cao, other shortlisted competing writers are from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States. He has won all the hearts of 10 jurors and was voted unanimously the winner of this year's prize.
"Cao writes beautifully about the complex life of children facing challenges. He's a deeply committed writer whose own child life has been deeply influential on his writing," she said.
The host of the event, New Zealand TV presenter Miriama Kamo pointed out a coincidence that Margaret Mahy, a New Zealander writer received here Anderson Award a decade ago in China while a Chinese writer receives one for the first time in New Zealand.
Chinese writers have been involved with Anderson Award decades ago when another writer Jin Bo was nominated for the prize in 1992. A few others have been nominated afterwards, but none has won the prize.
Zhang Xiaonan, chief editor of China's leading publication group of children's literature recalled that insufficient application materials were to blame at the time.
IBBY president Wally De Doncker lauded efforts by Zhang and her China Children's Press and Publication Group, which launched special program to promote better translation and overseas publishing of Chinese authors' works.
Cao, one of the best of his peers in China, sailed with wind and anchored his merit in history with a strong belief that the best authors and their works in China can speak for the best literature in today's world.
"As a matter of fact, we have been there for some 15 years," he told the press after receiving the award. "The world had just not realized it then."