“I want to hear more female literary voices”
Interview with Chinse author and academic Zhang Li
“What I’ve done in terms of researching and writing women in literature I have done out of my own passion,” said award-winning writer Zhang Li. “I hope there will be more women who are willing to write their own stories – stories which not only talk about the lives in Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou, but also include the experiences of living in rural areas. I hope their voices can be heard by more people, and its precious value will be recognized.”
In March 2019, Zhang Li launched the “Survey into the View of Gender at Our Time”, focusing on 127 Chinese modern writers (67 new female writers and 60 new male writers), in a work that was critically acclaimed.
Comparing the present to the past, she noted some positive developments. “One hundred years ago there were only a few renowned Chinese female writers. However, nowadays, the number of Chinese female writers is not only equal to the number of male writers, but possibly there are even more female writers now. Certainly, the quality of their works is equal,” Zhang Li said, speaking ahead of her appearance at the 6th EU-China International Literary Festival.
However, although female writing has made progress, there is still a long way to go to fully present an equal gender perspective in literature, she said.
“At present, the gender concept of writers has become more and more modern, and almost every writer agrees on the the concept of equality between men and women. But not every writer can show their gender perspective completely in their works. I think the question of how to show the real sense of gender equality is an issue on which we should continue to work.” Zhang Li said.
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