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Marketing Chinese Children’s Authors in an Age of Celebrity


Frances Weightman

University of Leeds
About Frances

Dr Frances Weightman is Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Leeds, and Director of The Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing.

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In this paper I explore the topic of authorial self-fashioning in an age of celebrity. Specifically, I consider the persona of the contemporary children’s author, as he or she is constructed within the paraphernalia surrounding the main stories in children’s books. This paper is part of a broader project examining how authors and translators choose to represent themselves, or are represented by their agents and publishers, within the paratextual elements of books. The primary case study for this enquiry is Cao Wenxuan 曹文轩. Since winning the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award, and with an increasing volume of his work available in translation, Cao is the prime example of a celebrity Chinese children’s author, now with global recognition. Cao has always been a prolific preface writer and many of his works have other paratextual elements, including an exceptionally large number of photos of the author, all of which provide a rich source for a comprehensive evaluation of the image constructed by author/publisher of the author’s persona as presented in the ‘margins’ of the books.

How to Cite: Weightman, F., 2020. Marketing Chinese Children’s Authors in an Age of Celebrity. JOMEC Journal, (15), pp.1–17. DOI:
Published on 22 Jul 2020.
Peer Reviewed


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