Friday, March 26, 2010

Stereotyping as a necessary evil in literature - Zhang Lijia

z004Zhang Lijia, with hooker in Shenzhen by Fantake via Flickr
A candid report from the International Literature festival 2010 at the Bookworm in Beijing brings up a range on controversies between different Asian writers in the China Daily:
Does putting a qipao-clad woman on the cover create instant brand recognition for readers interested in China? Is it an image persuasive enough to push sales? The qipao lure seems to work for factory-worker-turned-author Zhang Lijia (Socialism is Great, 2008), or so she would have us believe.
Zhang Lijia, currently working on her second novel, The Lotus, on the life of a hooker, explains she has no problem in adjusting the images she used to the taste for her targeted audience:
"If I write for the domestic market I will clothe my heroine in a low-cut Gucci dress or nothing at all, but if I am writing for the Western audience I will make her wear a qipao," says Zhang.
While her first book is a memoir of her growing-up years, slogging away at a missile factory on the banks of the Yangtze, her second has a hooker as the central character. "Western audiences will probably find an attractive prostitute more interesting than a yellow-toothed factory worker," Zhang says.
More arguments at the China Daily.

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Zhang Lijia is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need her at your conference? Do get in touch.
Zhang Lijia also contributed to our recently released book A Changing China.


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