The Nobel committee just announced that Chinese author Mo Yan is the recipient of the 2012 Nobel prize for literature.
Mo Yan which means ‘don’t speak’ is the pen name of Guan Moye. Described his work as having “tackled China’s tumultuous past century with a mix of magical realism and sharp-eyed satire that has made him one of the most famous, oft-banned and widely pirated of all Chinese writers.”
His work is said to be predominantly social commentary, and he is reportedly strongly influenced by the political critique of Lu Xun and the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Mo was widely tipped to be the winner of the literature award, although he faced strong competition from Japan’s Haruki Murakami.
For over 100 years, the names of Chinese authors have been absent from the list of winners for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Mo, however, is one of the most widely read writers in China and is a typical Chinese author in the traditional sense. His works reflect a vivid and real grass-roots China.
He is best known for his novel Red Sorghum which was turned into a prizewinning 1987 movie by director Zhang Yimou and picked by Chinese readers in a 1996 poll as their favorite novel. According to the Wikipedia online encyclopaedia, Mo Yan has published dozens of short stories and novels in Chinese. His first novel was Falling Rain on a Spring Night, published in 1981. Several of his novels have been translated into English by Howard Goldblatt,
Facts on the Nobel Prize in Literature
On 27 November 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament, giving the largest share of his fortune to a series of prizes, the Nobel Prizes. As described in Nobel’s will one part was dedicated to “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction