You’d hardly know it, but in late December 2012, the Committee for Promotion of Creative Writing by Zhuang Authors (壮族作家创作促进会) announced the 5 winners of its Zhuang Literature Awards (壮族文学奖) for original writing in Chinese:
- 《根是一条河》by Liao Qingtang (廖庆堂)
- 《芬芳飞翔的歌谣》by Huang Peng (黄鹏)
Four winners were also given awards for their works written in Zhuang. They are: Shi Caiyi (石才以), Ling Xingning (零兴宁) and Gan Shuowen (甘说文) for novels; Mo Keli (莫克利) for essays; and Meng Yanqun (蒙燕群) for a literary translation from Chinese into Zhuang.
With a population of around 18 million, the Zhuang (壮族) are second in number in China only to the majority Han. Concentrated in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, but also scattered throughout the provinces of Guizhou, Yunnan, Hunan and Guangdong, the Zhuang are perhaps further along in the acculturation process than the Tibetans and the Uyghurs.
There is an ancient Zhuang script, and the language can be written in Latin letters. However, most Zhuang literature is now penned in Chinese characters. For a good backgrounder on the written language, see Gerard A. Postiglione’s China’s National Minority Education: Culture, State, Schooling and Development . Or check out this free excerpt: Zhuang Language and Literacy.