An 11-year-old Chinese girl emailed her manuscript to the head of HarperCollins and got a global book deal. You can use my rope once you cut me down.
Fan has since been hailed as a prodigy by her editors who will use her book in a new attempt to establish the firm in China. Her story, Swordbird, is an epic allegory about the struggle for peace and will be printed in this country in the new year. Those who have seen it talk about it as the product of a mind as imaginative as some of the greatest names in children’s writing.
The key word here is “use”. In keeping with its corporate profile, HarperCollins has agreed to advance Nancy Yi Fan three times as much as it pays most of its Chinese workers ($1.82) and will occasionally let her out of the sweatshop where Rupert’s shoes are sewn with the hair of her siblings as he sits on the back of her parents. (Of course, none of this joking is fair to what seems to be a bright, driven young lady and her family, so I wish her all the best for her bravery and success. But it is, however, quite fair to Rupert and I wish him a long fall from a short pier.)