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Event Report | Why We Write

Munir Hachemi (Spain) and Wang Weilian (China)


“The aim of why I write is not to teach anyone anything but to better read into myself.” This is author Paul Eliot’s answer to why he writes.


During the 7th EU-China International Literary Festival, writers Munir Hachemi(霂林) from Spain and Wang Weilian(王威廉) from China also tackled the topic of “Why we write”, in conversation with Zhang Fan(张凡), an academic, translator and science fiction expert.


Writing came naturally for Hachemi. Under the influence of his parents, who had many books in Spanish and Arabic in their home, he developed strong reading habits from an early age. Coupled with encouragement from his teachers, he became more confident working in prose. In addition, he emphasized the importance of friendship to him in writing: “Literature has always been something closely related to friendship. In fact, lately I went to Yunnan on business. I wrote down what I came across there to keep record of the inspiration. When I finished writing it, I sent it to my friends, actually several friends. Their opinions are very important to me.”


Furthermore, his best-selling novel Cosas vivas (《活物》) was based on working and travelling experiences he shared with some friends, and the novel actually came about when three of the friends agreed to each write something about their travels. Hachemi has been honored by famous literary magazine Granta as one of the world’s most promising young Spanish writers, and he is currently a professor at Beijing University.


Chinese writer Wang Weilian studied physics, anthropology, and Chinese literature in Sun Yat-sen University, and received a Doctor of Literature degree. He is the author of the novel The Rescued (《获救者》), the novel collection Inner Face(《内脸》), Illegal Residence (《非法入住》), Listen to the Sound of Salt Growth (《听盐生长的声音》), Upside Down Life (《倒立生活》), and the literary essay collection Sadness Unable to Roam (《无法游牧的悲伤》). Wang Weilian stepped into arts from science, and from non-fiction to fiction, in pursuit of spiritual freedom, he said. “Fiction is also a way that can reach something real. But this kind of real is on an artistic and spiritual level, which is equally as important as examining physics in the universe and the truth behind anthropological cultures. And spiritual freedom is even more important. That is why I finally chose to become a writer.”


Wang Weilian summed up the relationship between technology and literature with a line from one his poems, saying, “It’s technology that turns words into things. Just like writing takes matter into something spiritual.”


Discussing the relationship between technology and literature, Hachemi said that many science fiction works nowadays could actually be called techno illusion or techno fantasy rather than science fiction because the core of these works is not the logic of science, but the application of technology. He said he was currently working on a book that had a strong China focus and examined the relationship between the protagonists, tribe and community. He planned to use Chinese characters in the title of the book, and using wordplay would remove a stroke in one character to give the book an unusual meaning (木来, meaning wood instead of未来meaning future).
Discussing literature’s future, Wang Weilian said he believes that even if we human beings end up reverting to a primitive state, literature will still be irreplaceable. And in the end, literature will be like fire to reignite a new civilization – and that is “why we write”.


The 7th EU-China International Literary Festival brought leading European and Chinese writers together to embrace the core theme of “Explore·Imagine·Inspire – Science Fiction, Fantasy and Worlds Beyond”.



– Report by EU-China International Literary Festival Team
– Translated into English by Sarah