Fe­male sci-fi writer wins Hugo ac­co­lade

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By MEI JIA in Bei­jing mei­jia@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Sci­ence-fiction au­thor Hao Jing­fang be­came the first Chi­nese woman to win a Hugo Award on Sun­day, beat­ing best-sell­ing hor­ror and fan­tasy writer Stephen King in the best novelette cat­e­gory.

The 32-year-old from Tian­jin re­ceived the prize for Fold­ing Bei­jing, in which she de­picts the Chi­nese cap­i­tal as a city di­vided by so­cial class.

“My story sug­gests a pos­si­bil­ity for the fu­ture and also pro­poses a so­lu­tion. ... In my story, the fu­ture is brighter than we thought, and I hope it is even bet­ter,” Hao said when ac­cept­ing her award at the Kansas City Con­ven­tion Cen­ter Grand Ball­room.

She said she was not con­fi­dent about win­ning and joked that she had been plan­ning to at­tend the Hugo losers’ party af­ter the cer­e­mony. “Sci-fi writ­ers al­ways con­sider all pos­si­bil­i­ties,” she added.

Her win comes a year af­ter Liu Cixin won a Hugo for his novel The Three-Body Prob­lem. He was the first Chi­nese au­thor to win the prize.

In Fold­ing Bei­jing, the city is sep­a­rated into three ar­eas, and “the res­i­dents of First Space see the ex­tra soil as a part of their priv­i­lege”, Hao said of her story, which was trans­lated by Ken Liu and pub­lished last year by Un­canny mag­a­zine.

At an ear­lier book event in Bei­jing, she said the story is about the so­ci­etal and wealth gaps that she has ob­served in her own life.

2015 Hugo win­ner Liu told China Daily that he thinks Hao’s sto­ries con­vey warmth and a unique color like “golden sun­light”.

He be­lieves the grow­ing global ac­cep­tance of Chi­nese sci-fi sto­ries is thanks to ex­pe­ri­enced trans­la­tors like Ken Liu, who pro­mote Chi­nese works, and the stronger pres­ence of Chi­nese cul­ture as a whole.

The au­thor cited the suc­cess of No­bel lau­re­ate Mo Yan and Cao Wenx­uan, who on Satur­day ac­cepted the Hans Chris­tian An­der­sen Award for chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture in New Zealand.

Eric Abra­ham­sen of Pa­per Repub­lic, which trans­lates and pub­lishes Chi­nese lit­er­a­ture, said China’s younger gen­er­a­tion of sci-fi writ­ers is show­ing great cre­ativ­ity.

“Sci-fi read­ers world­wide just want to read good sto­ries, and Chi­nese au­thors are pre­sent­ing those,” he said.

Hao said she orig­i­nally wanted to be a sci­en­tist. She be­gan writ­ing sci-fi sto­ries af­ter grad­u­at­ing with a de­gree in physics from Ts­inghua Uni­ver­sity in 2006. She went on to con­duct macroe­con­omy re­search for her doc­toral de­gree, and since 2013 has worked at the China De­vel­op­ment Re­search Foun­da­tion.


Hao Jing­fang, the win­ner of this year’s Hugo Award, speaks in Bei­jing in July.

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