Paper Republic: Chinese Literature Matters

Internet Novels to Compete for China's Mao Dun Literary Prize

http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/662610/Internet-novels-to-compete-for-Chinas-prestigious-literary-prize.aspx

Eight items of literary works published on the Internet will join another 170 novels to compete for the Mao Dun Literature Prize, one of China’s most prestigious literary awards, according to the Chinese Writers Association (CWA).

This is the first time that Internet novels have been accepted as qualified candidates for the prize, which is awarded to no more than five novels every four years.

The winners will be selected after two rounds of voting from a committee of 62 judges.

Recent years have shown a growing trend of Internet-based publication of literary works in China, whose number of Internet users climbed to 477 million this year.

In an earlier talk with media, Chen Qirong, a spokesman with the CWA, said that by opening the doors for Internet novels, China’s awards have begun to recognize the influence of Internet literature.

Comments

# 1.   

This news excerpt is a bit misleading.

Yes, novels originally published on the Internet are, in a break with tradition, eligible for nomination. However -- as I understand it -- they must later have been printed as a book and sold at bookstores.

If you think this is incorrect, please comment below.

 Bruce , June 23, 2011, 12:41a.m.

# 2.   

If that is indeeed the case (and I have no idea whether or not it is...will try to ask around and find out, though) what makes Internet novels different from conventional novels? Sort of makes the distinction moot.

 Cindy Carter, June 27, 2011, 10:53a.m.

# 3.   

@Cindy What makes Internet novels different from conventional novels?

  1. The author can publish one chapter at a time online;

  2. The author can get feedback from the readership before writing the next chapter and change the story accordingly, or even include the feedback verbatim in later writing. Chengdu, Leave Me Alone Tonight is an example of the former, and Liu Liu's 《心术》actually cites netizens' online comments in the body of the text.

  3. If you publish at one of the ubiquitous free platforms for creative writing, such as those run by Shanda Literature, you don't have to persuade a publisher that you have written a marketable book, and your copy won't be edited/censored by someone twice your age who probably doesn't even use the Internet anyway.

Obviously the Mao Dun prize folks are still very nervous about allowing writing first published online to compete direct with a novel first published in hard copy. But I think I have answered your question above clearly. Writing for publication online is obviously a less inhibiting and more interactive experience!

 Bruce Humes, June 27, 2011, 7:28p.m.

# 4.   

Good points. So if the criteria for an Internet novel to be considered for the Mao Dun prize is simply that it must later have been printed as a book and sold at bookstores, the process of writing, editing, developing, disseminating and creating a following for an online novel remains unaltered. You can have all the advantages of writing and developing your novel on the Internet, and still submit it to what is essentially a traditional text-based, publication-focused literary prize. Case in point (albeit a case which will be never considered for the Mao Dun Prize, for obvious political reasons) is Ai Weiwei's blog book 此时此地: all of the posts originated from his blog, and were later compiled and edited and published in pulp form.

 Cindy Carter, July 19, 2011, 12:33p.m.

# 5.   

Funny, I tried to post an addendum to that last comment (and a few useful links) and got blocked. Annyoing, but it's par for the course these days. Remember those old "Got Milk?" adverts? These days it's: "Got VPN?" 哭笑不得...

 Cindy Carter, July 19, 2011, 12:51p.m.

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