New and experienced writers gather for prose awards

Li Xinran
The awards are held in memory of "wandering writer" Sanmao, or Echo Chan, in her hometown of Dinghai.
Li Xinran

The 4th Sanmao Prose Prize Awards Ceremony was held in Dinghai, Zhoushan, on Thursday in memory of the "wandering writer" Sanmao, or Echo Chan (1943-1991), whose ancestral home is Dinghai.

The prose prize is held every two years for the global collection and selection of Chinese-language writers.

The fourth edition has attracted entries from 562 writers from around the world. A total of 13 award-winning prose collections and 13 individual essays have been selected.

"This is the first time I came to the ancestral hall and ancestral residence of my family, I was very excited. Our roots are here, and the feeling of belonging is very strong, and my feet on the Chinese mainland are very down-to-earth," Chan's niece Jessica told Shanghai Daily.

She also noted that the contest is very meaningful for young people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Literature, tourism and cultural creativity are the best means of connection for today's young people.

Jessica said she hoped more cities across the Strait would be involved in the future and that the selection might expand to lyrics, movies, and videos as Chan was not only a prose writer but gifted in many other ways.

A pioneering adventurer of her time, Sanmao was a symbol of female emancipation for her pursuit of love and happiness.

In 1989, after wandering around the world for most of her life, the legendary writer decided to finally return to her hometown to discover her roots.

In Dinghai's Xiaosha Community, Sanmao abandoned all her shackles and worries, offering sacrifices to her ancestors, visiting ancestral houses, embracing and talking with her uncle and aunt, and cycling on the ridge.

Alai, a Tibetan writer and vice chairman of the China Writers Association, was awarded a grand prize for his prose collection.

Chen Yao, a Dinghai native and fledgling writer, was awarded for her story "The Tower Builders on Xuanbogu Island."

"I grew up on an island and am much more focused on island walks. As an islander, writing about our island is also a new interpretation of traveling," she said.

New and experienced writers gather for prose awards
Ti Gong

Taiwan writer Sanmao's niece Jessica (right) poses with awarded writers at the 4th Sanmao Prose Prize Awards Ceremony, which was held in Dinghai, Zhoushan, on April 20.

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