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Who is the richest Chinese writer in 2012?

By Lin Liyao (

14:16, December 07, 2012

(file photo)

With an annual income of 26 million yuan (US$4.17 million) in royalties, the "King of Chinese Fairy Tales," Zheng Yuanjie, became this year's richest author in the nation, according to the China's Richest Writers 2012 rankings released on Nov. 29 by Huaxi Metropolitan Daily.

Since the annual list was first released in 2006, Zheng has never been out of the top 10. And over the past five years, he has always managed to secure himself a spot in the top three richest Chinese writers.

In the 2012 rankings, Mo Yan, the country's first Nobel Literature Prize laureate, edged himself into the top three for the first time. Yang Hongying, the most popular female author of children's literature, ranked third.

According to the newspaper, the annual list is based on the thirty writers' royalty revenues from the Chinese mainland over a time period running from November 2011 through to November 2012. The list has been compiled by Wu Huaiyao, a literature enthusiast, on a yearly basis since 2006.

The following are this year's top 10 richest Chinese writers based on the China's Richest Writers 2012 list:

Top 10: Dangnian Mingyue (当年明月)

Royalty income: 7 million yuan (US$1.12 million)

Bestseller: "Those Things of the Ming Dynasty" series 《明朝那些事儿》

Age: 33

2011 Ranking: 8

Dangnian Mingyue is the pen name of Shi Yue. Born in 1979 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, Shi is a former civil servant from the Bureau of Customs in Shunde, Guangdong Province. In 2006, he made a name for himself writing the online "Those Things of the Ming Dynasty" series. Shi tells the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) stories in a vivid, interesting and humorous way, changing people's deep-rooted thinking that "history books are boring." His narration and interpretation have given people a much more accurate picture of a previously misunderstood historical period.

The seven-book series became a hit upon its publication, selling more than 10 million copies, making it the most popular historical work of literature of the past three decades. With this successful series, Shi has edged his name onto the list of China's welathiest writers every year since 2007.

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