“Writer by the stove”: Grandma writes a book between chores and becomes the best-selling author

While waiting to boil a pot of soup, dry washed vegetables or simmer meat, Benfen Yang sat on a low stool and wrote quickly on handwritten paper in a four-square-meter kitchen in Nanjing , the capital of eastern Jiangsu in China. Province.

In the autobiographical prologue to his first novel, QiuyuanYang, 82, told how she wrote it when she was in her 60s.

Yang spent a year completing the story and over 10 years waiting for the book to be published.

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The book scored 8.9 out of 10 on Douban, a Chinese social media platform that rates and reviews books and movies. Over 80,000 copies have been sold to date.

Many readers have referred to her as a “woman writer by the stove” due to her writing experience.

Yang moved to Nanjing with her husband at the age of 60 from Jiangxi, a province in southeast China, after retiring from a job as a dispatcher at a bus company. She was there to help take care of her granddaughter when her daughter and son-in-law had to go to work.

The family of five was crammed into a 70 square meter apartment in a suburban neighborhood.

Having no interest in playing cards, mahjong, or square dancing, as many older Chinese do, Yang spent his free time embroidering, reading, and writing, The paper reported.

Inspired by Yefu’s book mother on the rivera tribute to his long-lost mother, Yang decided to write the story of his mother’s life, an ordinary Chinese woman, and the sufferings of rural people in the hinterland of south-central China.

Yang started writing her own mother's life story before branching out and has now written a number of books.  Picture: handout

“My mother’s footprints in the world will quickly be erased if no one drops anything,” Yang wrote. “My own tracks will be erased one day, not too far away.”

Yang began her writing journey with the faith to leave something behind.

Her passion for writing has remained inexhaustible since then, and she continues to write to this day. His second book DriftwoodWhere Fumu in Chinese, a collection of essays, was published last year. His third book Wobenfenfanga memoir about his family life, came out last month.

“She never has ‘writing bottlenecks’, and the stories flow like tap water; it is the gift of her hard past life,” said Zhang Hong, Yang’s daughter and a writer herself.

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Out of curiosity, Yang once weighed the manuscript paper for her first book, which weighed more than eight pounds.

Yang has been bothered by knee pain for the past few years. She continues to write, however, although less frequently than before.

“It’s been a very difficult life,” Yang told Chinese women news. “I lived for others until I started writing and my work was published.”

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