China’s best-selling author, Yang Hongying, is reading from her best-selling stories for 4- to 8-year-olds tomorrow at 10:30am at the Bookworm, and beijingkids has a few spare tickets to the event to give away! If you’d like to go, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org before 5pm today. We will reply to the first respondents and arrange to have the tickets at the door for you. Please indicate the number of tickets desired (max 4 per family).
Meanwhile, here’s an interview of Yang Hongying from the March edition of beijingkids:
Best-selling children’s author Yang Hongying is frequently referred to as China’s J.K. Rowling,due to her success and popularity among young Chinese readers. Previously a teacher and currently an editor at a children’s literary magazine, Hongying writes from her experience with children. In fact, it was her daughter who inspired her to write Girl’s Diary, the novel that first brought her fame. Hongying continues to charm millions with mischievousMa Xiaotiao from the Mo’s Mischief series.
Tell us about your family.
I have a daughter studying abroad in graduate school. She inspired me to write one of the first books that made me famous, called Girl’s Diary (女生日记).
What were your favorite books as a child?At the time, there weren’t a lot of books available[in China]and people weren’t allowed to read a lot. So, I didn’t read a lot of books when I was young, but the books I read, I read thoroughly. These three are my favorite children’s books and have influenced my writing: Grimm’s fairy tales, Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, and Journey to the West.
How do you feel about being compared to the author of the Harry Potter series?The media started calling me the Chinese J.K. Rowling ten years ago. I think the reason is that we were both best-sellers, but there is really nothing comparable between myself and J.K. Rowling.
Your books have been translated into many languages. What do you think gives your books such universal appeal?My books are available in Chinese, English, French, German, Korean and Japanese. We’re talking about translating them into Italian. The imagination, humor, and appreciation for beauty in my books make them universal.
What inspired you to become a writer?
My writing has a lot to do with my experience. I started teaching at 18, and writing at 19. I’ve mostly worked with children, so that really inspired me to write for them.
How has your experience as a teacher, a children’s book editor and working with a children’s newspaper affected your writing?
Being a teacher helped me learn and understand how children feel and think. Working as an editor and with a newspaper helped me understand what they like to read.
What influence do Chinese children have on your writing?
The unique aspect about Chinese children is that they are only children. There are more expectations and pressure [placed on]them than in other countries. So, making sure they have a happy childhood is a theme in my writing.
Do you have advice for other children’s writers?
Be devoted to writing. Spend a lot of time learning about kids – how they think and feel.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on The Diary of a Smiling Cat (笑猫日记). I’ve published 13 books in this series and feel it’s the most important of all my writing.
Interview translated by Amy Wang