Cao Wenxuan (曹文轩) is a Chinese children's fiction writer. He won the Hans Christian Andersen Prize 2016 at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in Italy, the first Chinese writer to ever win and be shortlisted in the highest international recognition given to an author and an illustrator of children's books.
Born in 1954 in a small rural village in Yancheng, Jiangsu province, Cao spent his childhood in poverty. He nonetheless was able to study at Peking University and is now a professor of Chinese literature and children's literature.
Cao writes beautifully about the complex lives of children facing great challenges. Patricia Aldana, the Hans Christian Andersen Jury President 2016, cited Cao's Bronze and Sunflower, a novel set during the time of the Cultural Revolution in a rural Chinese village, and Dingding Dangdang series about two brothers with Down syndrome who separately flee their village and then search for each other, as "deeply humanistic" books, because they acknowledge that life can often be tragic also for children, who nonetheless can be redeemed by the human qualities and kindness they sometimes find when they are most in need.
All of Cao's stories are set in China, all of them are Chinese stories, but at the same time they are the stories of humankind. Cao's books have been making their way into the world and have found enthusiastic readers in Britain, France, Germany and Italy.
Cao wished that the world will increasingly look at China's literature with a more fair and open attitude, and that Chinese authors will make an effort to use a language that is suitable for translation, a communication style that can be understood by the entire world.
His understanding of children's literature is creating a good human nature basis for the sake of humankind.