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Professor Feng Jicai's Mundane World Phenom Wins the 7th Lu Xun Literature Prize

“To retain readers is the most beautiful literary feeling that I want at the present stage.”

Professor Feng Jicai, the famous writer, painter, cultural scholar and Dean of the Feng Yicai Institute of Literature and Art at Tianjin University, distinguished himself among all the winners of the 7th Lu Xun Literature Prize as his book, Mundane World Phenom (俗世奇人) won the short story award.

After the announcement, Feng received a host of congratulatory messages from his friends, one of whom was Aikebaier Mjiti, a writer from Xinjiang, who won the National Outstanding Short Story Award with Professor Feng in 1979 (The predecessor of the Lu Xun Literature Prize). All this reminded Professor Feng of that feeling then: "That was the first time I won the National Outstanding Short Story Award, together with Aikebaier Mjiti, Jia Dashan and Chen Shixu. All in our 30s, we were young and excited and felt a sense of accomplishment at a very high level and that we could gain people’s attention."

Today, at his 70s, and once again winning this honor, Professor Feng had a quite different feeling from that of older times. He smiled and said that the literary prize belongs to the younger generation, "as at my age, this award is more like an encouragement and comfort. It makes me feel that 'this old man is still okay and can continue to write'. At the same time, it makes me feel a step closer to my readers".

"During the past 20 years and more, I have given almost all my life to the protection of cultural heritage. As I have only written two or three short stories from time to time I feel separated from the readers. After 2014, as I grew older, I had more time to study and started to write again. Mundane World Phenom is the first collection of my stories since I returned to the literary community. It reminded me of the readers and the feeling of communicating with them. And this is my most beautiful literary feeling. " Professor Feng said.

Professor Feng believes that writing is a spiritual life, and now he has re-embraced it. In fact, during the last 20 plus years, he has devoted himself to the protection of cultural heritage and seems to be far from literature and away from the readers, while literature has always been in his heart and emerged now and then.

The Lu Xun Literature Prize is a literary prize awarded by China Writers Association. It is one of China's top four literary prizes and is named after Lu Xun and has been awarded every three years since 1996.

By: Cao Yizhong
Editors: Sun Xiaofang and Ross Colquhoun