The 10th Mao Dun Literature Prize was unveiled in Beijing on Aug, 16th.. 2019. Xu Zechen, alumnus of the School of Chinese language and Literature at NNU, won the prize for Northward. In 2014, he received the Short Story Award of the 7th Lu Xun Literature Prize for his work If A Snowstorm Seals the Door. He also won the Lao She Literature Prize in the same year for Jerusalem was nominated for the 9th Mao Dun Literature Prize in 2015 and received the first Cross-Strait Young Writers Prize in 2016 for this work.
Besides Northwood, the other four winning books for this year’s Mao Dun Literature Prize were Human World by Liang Xiaosheng, Qian Feng Ji (牵风记, “The Story of Leading the Wind”) by Xu Huaizhong, Zhu Jue (主角, “Leading Role”) by Chen Yan and Ying Wu Xiong (应物兄, “Brother Ying Wu”) by Li Er.
Born in 1978 in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, Xu Zechen obtained a bachelor’s degree in the School of Chinese Language and Literature at Nanjing Normal University, and is now associate editor of People’s Literature magazine. He has numerous famous works like Jerusalem, The Imperial City Is Like the Sea, Running through Beijing and Fair Tales of Qingyun Valley. Northward, Xu’s novel, was first published in 2018. This book tells a grand story in a forceful and deep manner. It unveils a hundred-year secret history of several families along the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal with past and present as its time clues. The “North” refers to north on a geographical, cultural and spiritual level. In the story of tracing northward along the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, Xu Zechen tried to delve into the relationship between Chinese people and the nation, the intellectual and the nation, China and the world, and the significant importance of the Grand Canal in Chinese politics, economics, geography, culture and vicissitudes throughout time and space. He wrote about the spirit of the Grand Canal throughout the century and history of the development of the Chinese nation.
As a writer born in the 1970s, Xu Zechen excels in deeply thinking about issues of culture, society and history of the Chinese nation. His works are inclusive, filling up and enlarging the topics of the contemporary Chinese novel, and revealing the new orientation of the Chinese novel. He has won the Zhuang Chongwen Literature Prize, Annual Novelist Award of Chinese Literature Media Prize, Feng Mu Literature Prize, and was rated as a “2015 Young Chinese Leaders” by Southern People Weekly magazine. His novel If A Snowstorm Seals the Door won the Short Story Award of the 6th Lu Xun Literature Prize. His short story collection of the same name won the prize of “2016 Annual Books”. Jerusalem was awarded as an “Annual Ten Best Chinese Novel” in 2014 by Asia Week of Hongkong as well as the above mentioned 5th Lao She Literature Prize, and got the Jury Award of the Dream of the Red Chamber Award.
The Mao Dun Literature Prize is a literary prize for Chinese fiction established in 1981 through an endowment in the will of Chinese novelist Shen Dehong (who wrote under the pseudonym Mao Dun). The prize is administered by the Chinese Writers’ Association (CWA) every four years and is one of four top literary prizes in China. It has awarded the authors of many masterpieces which embody the spirit of time and the spirit of nation since 1982, which greatly influences the creation of excellent novels and the prosperity of socialist literature in China.