'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 10 April 2018

12 Curly Questions with author/illustrator Fu Wenzheng

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
My childhood was spent in the countryside, which influenced me a great deal. Chinese countryside retains many traditional elements of life and culture, in which a kind of silent beauty has always influenced me. As an adult I find myself sentimentally attached to the traditional Chinese elements and this, I hope, is evident in the Chinese aesthetic style of my picture books.

2. What is your nickname? 
Some of my friends like to call me 'little squirrel' because I was born in the year of the rat. It may also be because I used to sneak snacks when I was a child. There are so many interesting stories about rats that I may create a book about a rat someday.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Roller coasters! I also fear separation from my family and friends.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words. 
Full of traditional Chinese culture, oriental aesthetics, warm, fusion, tradition, innovation, love, humour, emotion, and a breath of nature.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Curiosity, self-mockery, enthusiasm, observation and diligence.

6. What book character would you be, and why? 
My favourite character is Sun Wukong, the Monkey King in Chinese fantasy literature The Journey to the West. He was my idol when I was a child. He has magic skills and flies on the clouds. What I appreciate most is his character. He is wild and intractable, but he is always loyal to his master. He is smart, confident, brave and full of charisma.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why? 
I would to go back to the year when my mother was 10 to see the young girl who pulled up pigweed and went to school barefoot. I might take snacks to her and see my grandparents when they were young. They lived in a traditional Chinese-style house, and the scenery must have been charming.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now? 
You are an art teacher now as you always hoped to be, and have written and illustrated award-winning picture books. I hope you can always keep your simplicity, passion and bravery.

9. Who is your greatest influence? 
My mother. She has always supported and encouraged me to learn art.

10. What/who made you start writing? 
Mr Wu Yonghang, who was my tutor when I was a graduate student. He gave me a lot of help and encouragement. He is an oil painter and the director of illustrations. He has mentored many illustrators and inspired me to look for the beauty in my illustrations.

11. What is your favourite word and why? 
Hope. The word 'hope' can dissolve the desolation of the ultimate meaning of human destiny.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
300 Tang Poems. The words are simple but have profound meanings. Everyone will interpret the poetry differently according to their stage of life.

Fu Wenzheng is a Chinese illustrator and author of picture books, and also works as a teacher at university. She has created and published many award-winning picture books. For more information, see www.fuwenzheng.cn.