Since March, a book titled “Delivering Packages in Beijing” has climbed the ranks of popular booklists on various websites.
The author of this book, Hu Anyan, used to work as a delivery person in Guangdong and Beijing. Before publishing his first book, an article he posted on Douban titled “My Year Working Night Shifts at Deppon Express” went viral.
Hu Anyan, gradually gaining recognition as a writer, drew people’s interest due to the contrast between his experiences as a manual laborer and his identity as a writer.
At the end of April, Hu Anyan and Fan Yusu were invited to have a discussion titled “Silent Symphony: When a Laborer Picks up a Pen to Write” at Tan Valley Slow Flash Park in Mentougou, Beijing.
Hu Anyan and Fan Yusu are often seen as the same type of writers: individuals who have engaged in or have experience with physical labor and have not received traditional literary education.
Some refer to them as “writers from the bottom rung” or “amateur writers.”
On the day of the event, Hu Anyan wore a brightly colored jacket, matching well with the early spring atmosphere in Beijing.
The host mentioned that he had a youthful vibe, and indeed, he didn’t look like a middle-aged person, not only because of his attire but also due to his shyness and reserve—traits more commonly found in young people.
Before the event started, he even found a corner with no one around, facing away from the audience, and sat or stood there.
Pujiao, the editor who accompanied him to the event, explained that he needed some psychological preparation in such situations.
If one must label a person to understand them (sometimes the most convenient and rapid way), then the most prominent label for Hu Anyan would be social anxiety.
In his writings, Hu Anyan has repeatedly described and reflected upon this aspect of his personality: his fear of disappointing others, frequently feeling guilty (sometimes unnecessarily), and being poor at verbal expression.
Compared to Fan Yusu’s outgoing and talkative nature, Hu Anyan is concise and quiet. Most of the time, he lightly tiptoes, seemingly trying to find a balance between tension and calmness.
When the host directed questions to Fan Yusu, he appeared more relaxed. However, when the questions came to him, his feet would lightly tiptoe in nervousness.
Based on the observations of attending journalists, Hu Anyan’s verbal expression is not as “feeble” as his self-assessment suggests.
In fact, in his conversations, we can already see a Hu Anyan that is 60-70% similar to the one portrayed in his writing: astute, meticulous, objective, gentle, logically clear, and possessing a sense of humor.