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Inner Child’s World, The World’s Child

Seminar Explores International Dissemination of Works by Emerging Chinese Fairy Literature Writers

Over 120 guests from home and abroad gathered on November 20 to discuss the future development of Chinese children’s literature and opportunities for international exchange and cooperation at a seminar in Zhejiang’s Wuyi, the birthplace of Chinese fairy tales.

The “Inner Child’s World, The World’s Child” seminar also launched the “2024 Chinese Fairy Tales Going Global” ceremony, where cooperation agreements were signed on fairy tales in various fields.

International experts in attendance included Roger Miro, Brazilian painter and winner of the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, and Vonne Cunha Canonica, Brazilian author and former Executive Secretary of the Brazilian Ministry of Culture, as well as those from the Chinese side, including Zheng Zhong, president of Zhejiang Children and Teenagers’ Publishing House (ZCTP), Pan Jiangtao, chairman of Jinhua Writers’ Association, Wu Xiangyu, director of the Research Center for Children’s Literature at Zhejiang Normal University, and Chen Xiaofeng, member of the Standing Committee of the CPC and director of the Publicity Department of Wuyi County.

Tong Yonglei, vice director of the Publicity Department  of Jinhua Municipal Party Committee, officiated the opening ceremony. Speeches were delivered by Zheng Lei, deputy director of the Outreach Department of the China Writers’ Association, Ye Tong, secretary of the CPC of Zhejiang Writers’ Association, and Li Qiang, leader of Wuyi County.

Zheng Lei acknowledged the substantial contribution of children’s literature in advancing Chinese literature internationally, recognizing the global resonance of works by Tang Tang and Heihe. Ye Tong provided an overview of the creative development of children’s literature in Zhejiang,commending the collaborative efforts of ZCTP and Wuyi County Government in promoting the works of the new-generation children’s literature writers. Li Qiang introduced Wuyi, aptly termed a ‘fairy tale birthplace in China,’ delving into its natural resources, human history, industrial development, and fairy tale characteristics.

Representing emerging writers, Tang Tang and Heihe shared their experiences at the event.

Tang Tang spoke of pursuing warmth and energy through fairy tales, while Heihe described his tales as trying to reconstruct the wilderness culture of North China to provide possibilities for peaceful coexistence between humans and nature.

Gao Hongbo, poet and former vice chairman of the Chinese Writers’ Association, Jiang Feng, winner of the Grimm Prize and renowned children’s literature theorist, and Zhang Mingzhou, former chairman of IBBY and chairman of the Life Tree Cultural Promotion Center, delivered speeches through videos. These experts expressed hope that the seminar could help spread the works of Chinese new-generation writers more widely overseas.

Through a perspective of painting creation, Roger Miro spoke of the poetic relationship between images and texts in fairytales, whose imaginings weave visual wonders with philosophical threads.

Li Lifang, critic of children’s literature and dean of the College of Arts and Letters of Lanzhou University, highlighted how Chinese children’s literature has gained global attention in the last decade for its distinctive aesthetic, as tales from the East enchant wider lands.

Vonne Cunha Canonica compared children’s book creation, publication and promotion between China and Brazil. The writer looked forward to more exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in the creation and publication of children’s stories.

Critic Chen Xiang saw Tang Tang’s works as coming closest to the heart of fairytales, with a Chinese soul that resonates universally.

French cartoonist Olivier Richard and Sri Lankan scholar Sugat Ratnavak expressed love for the traditional elements in Tang Tang and Heihe’s works, finding beauty in how nature and heritage can touch all people.

Iranian sinologist Esen Dost Mohammadi, publisher Wang Ning and Jiang Yanping praised Tang Tang’s imaginative spirit and profound thoughts, seeing the influence spread farther in the market of children’s literature.

ZCTP, the organizer of the event, is staunchly committed to cultivating Chinese original children’s literature. In 2016, ZCTP collaborated with writer Tang Tang to establish a writer’s studio, producing over 40 books. Tang Tang’s works’ global promotion and the push for multi-language representation were highlighted as exemplary cases in the “One Belt, One Road” publishing cooperation for 2023. A market cooperation program for the works of new-generation writers aimed at “Belt and Road” countries, as well as the mainstream markets in Europe and the United States, is currently underway.

Wuyi County, the event’s host, has diligently cultivated the brand of “Fairytale Wuyi” for a decade, evolving from a “fairytale bookstore” to “fairytale festivals,” and ultimately to “fairytale industry” and “fairytale publishing.” This iterative upgrade has paved a new path for the cultural industry’s development, resonating with the global enthusiasm for Chinese children’s literature.

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