Chinese novelist wins Nobel Prize
By McClatchy Newspapers
Published: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 9:52 p.m.
BEIJING — Chinese novelist Mo Yan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday — an honor that brings acclaim for an author whose work traces the turbulent history of China through a surrealist lens but that also underlines the nation's political complexities.
The news was immediately announced on Chinese state TV and the official Xinhua news service. The Global Times, a popular tabloid known for its nationalist leanings, posted a page on its website titled simply, “Mo Yan wins Nobel Prize.” The celebratory mood contrasted strongly with the accusations and anger that China displayed two years ago, when the Nobel Peace Prize for the first time went to a Chinese citizen: Liu Xiaobo, who is serving an 11-year sentence on subversion charges after helping write a political manifesto.
The Nobel award for another Chinese writer, Gao Xingjian, who won the literature prize in 2000, is rarely mentioned officially. He was then, as now, living in France, where he gained citizenship after applying for political asylum.
Mo, the pen name of 57-year-old Guan Moye, has taken a different position within Chinese society. Although some of his stylistically daring fiction has been banned in the past, he has not pushed his commentary so far that it has run afoul of the government.
His books include “Red Sorghum,” an account of the hardships endured by generations of a family in the Chinese countryside, including the brutality of the Japanese invasion; and “Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out,” a darkly humorous work that starts off in Hell and then explores the tumult of China's recent history through a series of animal reincarnations.
In giving the award on Thursday, the Swedish Academy said: “Through a mixture of fantasy and reality, historical and social perspectives, Mo Yan has created a world reminiscent in its complexity of those in the writings of William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, at the same time finding a departure point in old Chinese literature and in oral tradition.”
Mo is a senior member of the government-backed Chinese Writers' Association. Intellectuals with an activist bent criticize him for being co-opted by China's authoritarian rulers. They note that Mo joined a group of authors who hand-copied excerpts from a 1942 speech by dictator Mao Zedong that set limits on artistic expression in China.
During a 2010 interview with Time magazine, Mo was quoted as saying of censorship: “There are certain restrictions on writing in every country.”
The article further quoted him as saying: “One of the biggest problems in literature is the lack of subtlety.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Panthers free agent safety headed to Steelers
- Orpik rises to occasion as Penguins take down Capitals once again
- Penguins notebook: Letang skating, but no return set
- Figure skating coach dies in crash at Washington County Airport
- Curtain call: Final wintry blast due to hit Western Pa.
- Obamacare dramatically increases costs for some small businesses
- Police charge Westmoreland County priest in $124,000 theft case
- Can Pirates star outfielder McCutchen be even better in 2014?
- Starkey: No shame for Robert Morris
- Sandusky’s wife says she believes he’s innocent
- 1 killed in Washington County car crash