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Writer-in-residence turns new chapter in life

By A Yi ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-04-15 08:02:45

Writer-in-residence turns new chapter in life

A Yi [Photo by Xing Yi/China Daily]

The author of Grey Stories, The Bird Saw Me and A Perfect Crime (available in English) tells China Daily his experience as the writer-in-residence at the Owspace bookstore.

In the last two weeks of March, I took the metro, transferring three times, to travel from my home in southern Beijing to reach Owspace in Huajiadi on the other side of the city. I stayed in the bookstore from 11 am to 5 pm as a writer at large in the store.

Iwas invited by the bookstore to be the writer-in-residence, partly because I am familiar with the people there because I often go to buy books and have done some book launches in Owspace in recent years, and partly because, as an unemployed freelance writer, I have plenty of time.

Few readers recognized me on my first day. I sat in a corner and did my own reading and writing. They just saw me as another quiet reader.

From the second day, some readers started to bring their works tome, asking for my opinion. Honestly speaking, their works have a lot of room for improvement, just like my early attempts at writing.

Some readers told their stories to me and asked me to write them. It was interesting to listen to other people describe the most exciting part of their lives. Actually, some of my past works are based on stories people told me.

During my stay in the bookstore, I gave a talk about what makes a young person who loves literature become a real writer.

One has to get acknowledgment from the outside world, such as getting one's works published in literary journals, win a literary award, or be recognized by critics. But more importantly, one has to identify oneself as a writer from inside their heart. There was a long period of time when I got no acknowledgment from outside and I wrote just for myself.

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