Celebrity writer Zhang Lijia just ended a successful book tour in India, being the first Chinese author to enter this market, write jubilant Indian media. Her personal memoir of her youth working in a Nanjing missile factory has made a rather successful debut.
Zhang Lijia explained the English-language medium IANS in India what the difference is between writing in English or her native Chinese:
“Writing for the domestic market and writing for an international audience are two different ball games. English has been my working language for the last 10 years – and has been quite a challenge to write in,” Zhang told IANS.
But the language, which is fast becoming the global lingual bridge, has freed Zhang of several inhibitions.
“What I cannot do while writing in my mother tongue Chinese, I can do in English. I can be adventurous. I can borrow from old Chinese sayings and transcribe them in English,” said Zhang, who taught herself English while working at the missile factory.
“It was not just learning English, but the whole cultural package that also planted the seed of individualism in my head,” she said.
For Harpin Collins Zhang’s and a colleague’s books are the first of a new trend they want to set in India:
“We are trying to build up a cache of books of Southeast Asian (and East Asian) authors in our Indian catalogue. Indians read and we are now confident enough to take the risk,” V. Karthika, editor of Harper Collins, told IANS.
Zhang Lijia is a Chinese author, conquering fast an international audience with the story of her youth in Nanjing. She is also a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do get in touch if you need her at your conference or meeting.