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Seminar honors achievements of Prof. Cao Wenxuan upon his retirement
May 15, 2024
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Cao Wenxuan speaks at the seminar

Peking University, May 14, 2024: A seminar celebrating the academic achievements of Prof. Cao Wenxuan and his contributions to Chinese literature in the global landscape took place on May 12, 2024, at Peking University (PKU). Attended by over 50 scholars from domestic and international institutions, the daylong event paid tribute to Cao's exceptional career and literary works.

Prof. Cao served as the director of the PKU Institute for Literary and Creative Writing and was a professor at the Department of Chinese Language and Literature. Renowned as one of China’s most distinguished novelists, he has authored over two hundred books, primarily children's literature, which have been translated into more than forty languages.

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Cao Wenxuan (C) attends the awarding ceremony of the Hans Christian Andersen Award in Auckland, New Zealand, Aug. 20, 2016. (Xinhua/Tian Ye) 

His accolades include the Peter Pan Prize and the National Excellent Children's Literature Award, and he was the first Chinese writer to receive the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Over his four decades at Peking University, Cao expanded the global reach of Chinese literature, contributing significantly to international dialogue with distinct Chinese characteristics.

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Prof. Zhang Qinghua presents a poem handwritten by Nobel Laureate Mo Yan 

During the seminar, a poem handwritten by Nobel Laureate Mo Yan was shared by Prof. Zhang Qinghua from Beijing Normal University, offering a glimpse into the shared memories and enduring friendship between Cao and Mo. The poem ingeniously incorporates imagery and contexts from Cao Wenxuan's works, conveying deep respect and well wishes.

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Cover of Bronze and Sunflower

In a subsequent session, Agustín Alepuz Morales, a Spanish scholar of Chinese studies whose Chinese name is Xia Haiming, shared his heartfelt reflections on Cao’s Bronze and Sunflower. "It's a tale that tugs at the heartstrings, revealing life's tapestry of joy and sorrow," he remarked, concluding with a quote from the Austrian poet Rilke: "The true homeland is childhood." For Xia, Prof. Cao's literary domain serves as a sanctuary in the vast expanse of world literature.

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Prof. Wen Rumin speaks at the seminar

Prof. Wen Rumin, former dean of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, elaborated on the profound impact of Cao Wenxuan's work, noting its resonance beyond literature. He highlighted how Cao's writings offer readers not only leisurely escapades but also a profound ethos of reverence for life, understanding of human nature, and empathy for the world.

Towards the end of the seminar, a video featuring foreign translators and publishers who had collaborated with Cao was shown. In his remarks, Prof. Cao fondly recalled their collaborations, expressing joy at seeing his works resonate with audiences worldwide. Looking forward, he expressed a continued aspiration to push boundaries and surpass himself in his literary endeavors.

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Representatives pose for a picture at Peking University

Written by: Wang Mengjiao, Yu Peijia
Edited by: Dennis Meng
Photos by: Department of Chinese Language and Literature