Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ACROSS AFRICA

Dozens killed in attack on military camp in Mali

Read more

THE DEBATE

Splintered Left: French Socialists divided ahead of primary runoff (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Splintered Left: Are Europe's social democrats obsolete? (part 2)

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

New President says Jammeh has agreed to cede power

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

France finally grants Senegalese vets citizenship

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Pollution threatens island paradise of Mauritius, and one Cameroonian expat's quest to bring safe drinking water to his country

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Publicis boss encourages firms to move staff to Paris post-Brexit

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Fake news has had almost no impact on Wikipedia'

Read more

FOCUS

Iraq: Embedded with French special forces in Mosul

Read more

Asia-pacific

Chinese author Mo Yan wins Nobel Prize for literature

Latest update : 2012-10-12

Chinese writer Mo Yan has won the 2012 Nobel Prize for literature, the Swedish Academy announced Thursday, praising Mo’s “hallucinatoric realism.”

Chinese writer Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday, a somewhat unexpected choice by a prize committee that has favored European authors in recent years.

The Swedish Academy, which selects the winners of the prestigious award, praised Mo’s “hallucinatoric realism,” saying it “merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.”

Peter Englund, the academy’s permanent secretary, said the academy had contacted Mo before the announcement.

“He said he was overjoyed and scared,” Englund said.

Though Mo, 57, is the first Chinese national to win the Nobel literature prize, he’s not the first Chinese.

A Chinese emigre to France, Gao Xingjian, won in 2000 for his absurdist dramas and inventive fiction, especially the novel Soul Mountain. His works are laced with criticisms of China’s communist government and have been banned in China.

When Gao won, the communist leadership disowned the prize. Mo’s award is likely to be more warmly greeted in Beijing.

Born Guan Moye in 1955 to a farming family in eastern Shandong province, Mo chose his penname while writing his first novel. Garrulous by nature, Mo has said the name, meaning “don’t speak,” was intended to remind him to hold his tongue lest he get himself into trouble and to mask his identity since he began writing while serving in the army.

His breakthrough came with novel ‘Red Sorghum’ published in 1987. Set in a small village, like much of his fiction, ‘Red Sorghum’ is an earthy tale of love and peasant struggles set against the backdrop of the anti-Japanese war. It was turned into a film that won the top prize at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1988, marked the directing debut of Zhang Yimou and boosted Mo’s popularity.

Mo writes of visceral pleasures and existential quandaries and tends to create vivid, mouthy characters. While his early work stuck to a straightforward narrative structure enlivened by vivid descriptions and raunchy humor, Mo has become more experimental, toying with different narrators and embracing a freewheeling style often described as ‘Chinese magical realism.’

European authors had won four of the past five awards, with last year’s prize going to Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer.

As with the other Nobel Prizes, the prize is worth 8 million kronor, or about $1.2 million.

(AP)

Date created : 2012-10-11

  • NOBEL PRIZE

    Two US scientists win Nobel Prize for chemistry

    Read more

  • NOBEL PRIZE

    French-American duo wins Nobel Prize for physics

    Read more

  • NOBEL PRIZE

    Stem cell pioneers win Nobel Prize for medicine

    Read more

COMMENT(S)