‘My Reading Life’ event held in Beijing to ignite young generation’s passion for books
Published: Sep 16, 2023 10:10 PM
Panelists and organizers of the

Panelists and organizers of the "My Reading Life" essay contest book sharing event at Dulwich College Beijing on Saturday. Photo: Li Hao/GT

A book sharing event aimed at encouraging Chinese young generation's passion for reading has been launched at Dulwich College Beijing on Saturday.

The event was inspired by the "My Reading Life" essay contest that the Global Times launched in early 2023 to encourage middle school students to write about and share their reading experiences. So far, a total of 21 essays have been published in the newspaper.

The Saturday event was jointly organized by the Global Times, the Taofen Foundation as well the Dulwich College Beijing. Several different sections have been designed for the event. Following two jazz songs — Bossa Madeira and All of Me — performed by the Dulwich student music band, speeches of guest representatives from three organizers were the event's first major highlight.

Bai Long, deputy editor-in-chief of the Global Time expressed his gratitude towards the event's two other partners. The veteran media industry insider also shared one of his favorite books with audiences titled An Odyssey: A Father, A Son, and An Epic, written by the US writer Daniel Mendelsohn.

Weaving together classic plots of ancient Greek heroic epics with stories of the father and his son's profound thoughts on lives, Bai said the book made him "feel touched," not only because the 'Odyssey' topic was once his academic interest, but also because he was able to share the book with his own child.

"Reading the same book allows people of different times and different generations to have a common spiritual resonance," Bai said.

Bai also appreciated the support of Nie Zhenning, Chairman of Taofen Foundation at the event. He noted that it was with Nie and his foundation's support that the Global Times could successfully facilitate the "My Reading Life" essay contest.

Following Bai's remarks, Nie of Taofen Foundation also shared his insight on reading. Nie, a senior insider of the Chinese publishing industry, said that to improve students' reading ability is a "significant task," since the reading ability is in correlation to a student's ability of learning.

''Using mind,'' ''using hand'' and ''to not be afraid to speak'' are three reading strategies that Nie shared with the students.

Anthony Coles, the Principal of Dulwich College Beijing, said it is important that young people can have platforms like the "My Reading Life" essay contest book sharing event. The platform can help them to "promote knowledge sharing."

He also expressed gratitude to seven guest speakers who formed an excellent panel discussion for the event. Besides two "My Reading Life" contest participants, students Zhou Kanhe and Chen Yanle, the rest of the panelists include Robert Walker, an Emeritus Fellow at Oxford University, and a professor at Beijing Normal University; Li Wenru, former vice curator of the Palace Museum; Film director Ning Jingwu; actress Tan Zhuo and Sun Yi, a program host of the BRTV who is better known for her stage name "Xiaoyu sister."

Panelists shared their diverse yet interesting views on reading. For example, Sun Yi shared her thoughts on how she'd find the power of books through reading books of classic writer Bing Xin and Gao Shiqi, a Chinese bacteriologist and a famous science writer.

Director Ning shared his unique "walking along reading" strategy to encourage students explore book world with traveling experiences.

While Walker delivered a profound speech on "turning fiction into fact to truth," Tan, the actress and Li, the museum expert, also shared books such as Stoner by writer John Williams and recommended students to ''read more books and to read more good books.''

Students Zhou Kanhe and Chen Yanle talked about their favorite writers and books such as Agatha Christie and Chinese writer Liu Xie. The two students gave talks addressing rather profound subjects of how one's reading taste should not be intervened by judgments and what should a young writer do to maintain the quintessential Chinese writing spirit known as fenggu in contemporary age. Those speeches reflet Chinese young generation's growing critical thinking on reading.

Other than guest speakers' panel discussion, the event also included a Q&A section that allowed audiences to interact with these cultural industry insiders.

Lareina Li, who is a 10th grade student at Dulwich College Beijing, was a fantastic host for the event. During the panel discussion, Brandon Wang and Hillary Tian, both 12th grade students at the school,  asked intriguing questions to panelists such as, "What is the relationship between 'words' and 'language.'"  Following student Puzhao Zhang's  speech addressing his passion for film and reading, 11th grade student Evan Yi gave a beautiful musical performance on the classic Chinese plucked instrument known as the guqin.

Despite having an important exam on Sunday, student Zhou Kanhe told the Global Times it was "such a great opportunity" to share her thoughts at the event since she saw the event can help young readers just of her age.