Mo Yan of China Wins Nobel Prize for Literature
Canadian Alice Munro and folk singer Bob Dylan had been mentioned as front-runners
By the CNN Wire Staff
October 11, 2012
(CNN) -- Mo Yan -- a beloved Chinese author who has captivated his countrymen by intertwining fantasy and gritty everyday life -- won the Nobel Prize in literature Thursday.The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Mo the prestigious prize, saying the author's "hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary."
After the award was announced, Chinese national pride rippled across the Internet."China," one commenter said on the Nobel website, "is rising."
Mo plies his trade in a country where running afoul of party lines could lead to censorship.A Time Magazine interview said "by placing much of his writing in the past, and through the adroit subtlety of his magic-realist style, Mo Yan avoids stirring up the animosity of the country's ever vigilant censors any more than he needs to."
Mo told Time that he doesn't worry about censorship when deciding what to write. He told the magazine that the "inability to attack some topics head on is actually an advantage.""There are certain restrictions on writing in every country," he told Time. "One of the biggest problems in literature is the lack of subtlety. A writer should bury his thoughts deep and convey them through the characters in his novel."
Mo Yan is the author's pen name. It means "not willing to talk." His real name is Guan Moye. He was born in Gaomi in Shandong province.His novel "Frog" explored China's one-child policy, designed for population control.
He poignantly explored the traditional Chinese preference for boys over girls, a preference that stems from the perception that boys are more able to provide for the family and carry on the family line.That tendency has fed the practice of aborting female fetuses or abandoning infant girls, which continues today in rural parts of China.
"Frog" focused on a midwife in rural China and her experiences with forced abortions and sterilizations.Mo recently won China's prestigious Mao Dun literary award -- a potential indication that China has become more open to talking about the issue.
He also is famous for his novels "Red Sorghum," a story that takes place during the Japanese occupation, and "Big Breasts and Wide Hips," described as an epic about women.Chinese authorities and many Chinese people regard Mo as the first to win the literature prize. The prize in 2000 went to Chinese writer Gao Xingjian, who was born and educated in China but is now a French citizen.
State media reported Mo's victory immediately after the announcement. It was in sharp contrast to Chinese dissident's Liu Xiaobo's win of the Nobel Peace Prize two years ago, when international news coverage was blacked out.Favorites for this year's award included American folk singer Bob Dylan, Canadian author Alice Munro, American novelist Philip Roth and Japanese author Haruki Murakami.
Murakami and Dylan were also favorites among bookies last year, but Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer won the million-dollar prize.CNN's Steven Jiang and Ben Brumfield contributed to this report.
™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.