Thursday, October 11, 2012

#NobelPrize: Mo Yan Wins the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature

At a few minutes to 11 am GMT, the Nobel Committee announced Chinese writer Mo Yan (57) as the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature. The author whose works are often banned in his home country and are widely pirated is known for works such as Red Sorghum and Garlic Ballads. His recent work Frog was published last year and won the Mao Dun Literature Prize, 2011. Mo Yan - meaning 'don't speak' - is a pseudonym for Guan Moye; he becomes the first Asian since Kenzaburo Oe won it in 1994 - and if you count out his compatriot Gao Xianjing (2000) who is a citizen of France, he is the first non-European winner since 2003. Technically, Mo Yan is the first Chinese to have won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

According to the Nobel Committee, The 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Mo Yan
Who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.
This award which, until now, had been given 108 times since 1901, and had suffered only two rejections (Jean Paul Sartre and Boris Pasternak) is unarguably the the most prestigious awards in the world of Literature. The last winner was Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer.

The Nobel is given to an author "Who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction."

Trivia
Mo Yan's novel "... Life and Death are Wearing me Out [was written] in only 43 days. He composed the more than 500,000 characters contained in the original manuscript on traditional Chinese paper using only ink and a writing brush".

His book Frog has been criticised for supporting China's one child policy. He has also been accused of showing no greater solidarity with other writers who have been punished by the Chinese government.

It has also been said that he supported the heavy punishment meted out to the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Lu Xiabao.

In a recent Granta interview he explained why censorship is good for literature. He says "... Many approaches to literature have political bearings, for example in our real life there might be some sharp sensitive issues that they do not wish to touch upon. At such a juncture, a writer can inject their own imagination to isolate them from the real world or maybe they can exaggerate the situation - making sure it is bold, vivid and has the signature of our real world. So, actually I believe these limitations or censorship is great for literature creation."

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