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EU-China Literary Festival featuring major European & Chinese writers launched in Beijing

21 November 2017, Beijing—Today, the Delegation of the European Union to China launched the inaugural EU-China International Literary Festival, inviting 28 award-winning authors from the EU and China to lead public discussions featuring insights into their lives, works, and the unique character of their literary traditions. This is the first in a series of literary events that form part of the two-year-long #ExperienceEurope initiative, which aims to introduce the culture, institutions, and people of the EU to Chinese audiences.

Speaking at the launch event in Beijing, EU Ambassador to China Hans Dietmar Schweisgut stated, “The eight prominent European authors selected to represent their countries at this historic event hail from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, and Slovakia, and we are proud to be joined by some wonderful writers from all across China. In both Beijing and Chengdu, the festival will involve a series of literary events and discussions where [they] can exchange ideas, engage with readers and audiences, and celebrate the diversity of European and Chinese culture.”

The literary festival, held from 21 to 24 November in Beijing and from 25 to 27 November in Chengdu, discusses topics including the life of a writer, the meaning of literary diversity, the transformation of literary media in the digital age, and much more. The event provides Chinese audiences with a valuable opportunity to witness how diversity plays into story formation and how the interplay of two cultures produces even more richness and complexity in these authors’ works. Lu Min, winner of prestigious awards including the Zhuang Zhongwen Literary Award and the People’s Literary Award and one of the Chinese authors participating in the activities of the Festival, says: “Writing — it requires solitude, yet also writers need to blend and to be stirred. I am very much looking forward to meeting the eight authors visiting from Europe, for in the face of a complex and fascinating world we have a common viewfinder: literature.”

Isabelle Wery, author of Marilyn désossée and winner of the European Union Prize for Literature, joining the Festival from Belgium, says of the event, “You have Europe and China, two different literary worlds, coming together to discuss not just how to write books, but how books are going to be written in the future … China’s literary scene is developing rapidly, so I am really excited to hear what the Chinese writers have to say.” Other literary talents at the event include A Yi, short story author and winner of People’s Literature Short Stories’ award for Top Twenty Literary Giants of the Future; and Paolo Colagrande, author of Fideg, one of the top ten Italian novels at the Festival du Roman of Cuneo-Chambery.

A special highlight of the event is an online contest launched by the European Union Delegation prior to the Festival, where curious readers submitted their questions to the authors. With Lu Min as judge of the competition, two winners were selected to attend the launch reception of the 2017 Literary Festival and to chat with their favourite authors in person.

For more information on the event or other activities of the Delegation of the European Union to China, use the following QR code to follow the #ExperienceEurope WeChat campaign account.