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Five novels win top honor of Chinese literature

The Mao Dun Literature Awards only come around once every four years, and they are regarded as the most prestigious trophy in Chinese literature. Let’s look at the five novelists, chosen by the China Writers’ Association this year.

The overall winner was “River South Trilogy”, penned by Tsinghua University professor Ge Fei over more than 10 years. Its timespan runs from China’s 1911 revolution to the present day.

Veteran Writer Wang Meng notched up the second-largest tally of votes with a novel drawing on his experiences in Xinjiang.

The three other winners are: Li Peipu’s work about rural life amid radical social change; Jin Yucheng’s novel about urban life in Shanghai; and Su Tong’s story of how a legal case affected the fates of three teenagers.

“All five of these writers have won the Mao Dun Award for the first time. The oldest of them, Wang Meng, is 82 years old. His career spanned the development of contemporary Chinese literature. Su Tong and Ge Fei are relatively young, born after the 1960s. All the judges wanted to vote with their name, not anonymously. These five works are excellent examples of Chinese literature over the past four years,” sad Li Jingze, vice director, judging panel.

The awards were established in 1981 with a gift from the will of immortal Chinese writer Mao Dun. Past winners include Nobel laureate Mo Yan, and best-selling writer Jia Pingwa.

This year, 252 novels were submitted for the competition - a 40 percent increase over four years ago. The award ceremony will be held in Beijing at the end of September.