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Literary link to the land of the long white cloud

MAR . 14 2011

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Peking University, Mar. 12, 2011: “The greatest benefit of writing lies in that it provokes our thinking about what is the most important thing in our lives,” said Sarah Laing, a renowned New Zealand writer during a seminar at PKU.


Co-sponsored by PKU New Zealand Center and the Office of International Relations (OIR), the special workshop on “how to write” was held on the afternoon of March 7 at Linhuxuan.


Professor Liu Shusen, director of the center, presided over the event.


Sarah Laing first expressed her gratitude for the invitation by Peking University. The visiting writer then illustrated her growing experience, her love for fiction, as well as characters, settings, and scenes in her works.



“Writing could also help us find out our career orientations through constant thinking and thus, distinguish yourself and make a difference,” said Laing when asked about the significance of writing.


On how to compose a literary work which is both creative and meaningful, Laing said that imagination based on materials collected through careful observation and thinking of life is needed.


“Besides, a good piece of work requires the author’s revision until it is perfect,” added Laing.


The guest was invited to recite a part of her work to the students at the seminar, presenting a literary image of the country, its modernity, and its indigenous civilization.


“This house — Linhuxuan — used to be the residence of late Yenching president John Leighton Stuart. It has witnessed a number of significant events, including visits by world-renowned writers and even Nobel laureates,” said Professor Liu, who is also deputy dean of PKU School of Foreign Languages, at the end of the seminar.


“Now on the list we will include your name here, and we hope that when you write another story, one episode will cover this occasion,” Professor Liu remarked.



About the guest:

Sarah Laing, born in 1973 in the United States, is a New Zealand fiction writer and graphic designer. Her first collection of short stories, Coming up Roses, was published in 2007, and followed her win of the 2006 Sunday Star Times Short Story Competition. She illustrated the book Macaroni Moon (2009) and in the same year published the novel, Dead People’s Music, which is set in Wellington and New York. Laing was a Michael King Writers Center Writer in Residence in 2008.



Translated by: Su Dongrui

Edited by: Jacques

Source: Office of International Relations