An awards ceremony for those who have made a special contribution to Chinese publishing was held in the Great Hall of the People on Aug 26, 2014. Zhou Hailun, the head of Penguin (Beijing) Culture Development, received this honor for her contribution to promoting cultural exchange by translating and publishing books on Chinese culture.
Zhou Hailun, 40 years old, has worked and lived in China for 16 years. When she promotes Chinese books to western readers, this adventurous and strong-minded woman selects good books that present a true China, a country of constantly development and change, not simply those that meet the readers’ existing expectations and preferences. "Unexpected books can be attractive to readers,"she says.
Zhou has achieved some spectcular successes during her 10 years at Penguin. Wolf Totem, a novel about Mongolian herders and their relationship with wolves, went viral in the overseas market. Initially this book did not even exist in English, and the group CEO had never even read it. Zhou Hailun signed up the copyright and made the book an international success.
Zhou is a veritable master, especially in cover design and marketing. "We will update the cover design for contemproary readers, and provide an appropriate introduction to the classics,"she says. At the recent Shanghai Book Fair, Penguin offered a limited-edition case filled with hardback classics. They sold out quickly.
Zhou Hailun pays attention to Chinese folk arts and crafts, such as embroidery and wax printing. She is proud to show us a wax printing sample, which dyes four different logos on mysterious blue textures and presents the images of Penguin Company in different periods of time. In her opinion, creative wax printing can enrich the product portfolio of Penguin; it can also help women raise revenue by doing this in the mountain area in southwest China’s Guizhou province.
After 16 years in China Zhou can speak fluent Mandarin. She has a deep understanding of and feeling for Chinese society and culture. As an envoy of Chinese and western cultural exchanges, she is excited by the prospect of launching a book and challenging the expectations of western readers about Chinese novels.
She hopes that Chinese writers will be given more opportunities to work with foreign publishers. The curiousity about Mo Yan and his book, Frog, is a good example.
Many people interpret China simply, but China is complicated. One story can only present one aspect of China from a specific period. Zhou Hailun wants to present a true China to the world.
The article is edited and translated from 《中华图书特殊贡献奖获得者周海伦——向西方呈现一个真实的中国》,source:People.com.cn,author: Xiao Jiaxin