A glance at the Nobel Prize for literature

Story Topics

WHO WON?

Chinese author Mo Yan, 57.

FOR WHAT?

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

NOTABLE WORKS

“Red Sorghum”; “The Garlic Ballads”; “Big Breasts & Wide Hips”; “Frogs.”

LITERARY IMPACT

Mo writes of visceral pleasures and existential quandaries, creating vivid characters. His early work stuck to a straightforward narrative structure enlivened by vivid descriptions and raunchy humor. In recent years, Mo has become more experimental, toying with different narrators and embracing a freewheeling style often described as “Chinese magical realism.”

WHAT DID HE SAY?

“China has a lot of great writers. I know that in my heart … I am very fortunate to have won this prize but I am quite clear. I know that the most important thing for an author is the work they produce … I’ll continue on the path I’ve been taking, feet on the ground, describing people’s lives, describing people’s emotions, writing from the standpoint of the ordinary people.”

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