by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Oct 11, 2012
Chinese author Mo Yan said Thursday he was "stunned" and delighted at winning the Nobel prize for literature as millions in China expressed pride and state-controlled media framed the achievement as an honour for the country.
Mo Yan, 57, became the first Chinese national to win the prize, and the award finally gave China's government a Nobel it could be proud of, after previous peace prizes to the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama and dissident writer Liu Xiaobo enraged Beijing.
"On hearing the news that I won the award, I was very happy," Mo Yan was quoted saying by the official China News Service.
"I will focus on creating new works. I will strive harder to thank everyone."
Mo Yan is one of China's leading writers, known for works that explore the brutality and darkness of 20th-century Chinese society with a cynical wit in a highly prolific career.
The Swedish Academy which announced the award in Stockholm said he was honoured for using "fantasy and reality, historical and social perspectives" to create worlds reminiscent of William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Mo Yan, a pen name for the author, who was born Guan Moye, is perhaps best-known abroad for his 1987 novella "Red Sorghum", a tale of the brutal violence that plagued the eastern China countryside -- where he grew up -- during the 1920s and 30s.
It was later made into an acclaimed film by leading Chinese director Zhang Yimou.
The Nobel literature award is often dismissed in China as Western-focused.
But users of the country's hugely popular microblogging services broadly welcomed the win as a triumph for Chinese literature, making it the most discussed topic on Weibo, China's version of Twitter, with millions of postings on the subject in the hours after the announcement.
"Mo Yan winning is his personal honor, but also the honor of Chinese literature," said one posting.
"For Mo Yan to win the Nobel prize is the greatest thing for so many Chinese people. It really is a dream," said another.
China's state-controlled television broke into its evening news broadcast to announce the award.
It later broadcast an interview with He Jianming, vice chairman of the Chinese Writer's Association, who said: "We are very happy. This is a happy thing for the China literary world."
AFP could not immediately reach Mo Yan, whose mobile phone was switched off.
State media said he was at his home in rural Shandong province, where many of his works are set.
The Nobel Academy's permanent secretary, Peter Englund, said the organisation had spoken to Mo Yan by telephone at his home and that the author was "overjoyed and terrified" at the award.
"Winning the Nobel prize has stunned me, as I always thought it was very distant for me," he said in a recorded interview posted on the Nobel prize website.
The awards are a sensitive issue in China since Liu, the jailed dissident writer, won the 2010 Peace Prize for advocating democratic change in the Communist Party-ruled country.
China lashed out, vilifying the Norwegian committee that chooses the peace award as "clowns" and punishing Norway with diplomatic retaliation. Liu remains in prison and his wife under house arrest to prevent her discussing the situation.
Mo Yan's subject matter has often flirted with the politically taboo.
His latest novel, 2009's "Frog", for example, is a searing depiction of China's "one child" population control policy and the local officials who ruthlessly implement it with forced abortions and sterilisations.
"Frog" and other novels sold out before the award in some bookshops and Chinese online booksellers on anticipation he would win, according to state media.
Mo Yan, however, has deftly managed to avoid serious trouble with Communist authorities, in part due to his position as a deputy chair of the writers association.
He Jianming, the association official, called Mo Yan "a good friend of ours".
While the imprisoned Liu could not leave China to receive his prize, Mo Yan indicated he may travel to Sweden for the literature award.
"As for whether I will go to Sweden to accept the prize, I will be waiting for the notice and arrangements of the organisation committee," China News Service quoted him saying.
China's government criticised the literature prize awarded to author Gao Xingjian in 2000, the only other Chinese-language writer to win the award. Gao had fled China in the 1980s and took French citizenship in 1997.
Beijing also loudly denounced the 1989 peace prize for the exiled Dalai Lama, whom it considers a separatist.
China News from SinoDaily.com
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Mo Yan of China wins Nobel Literature Prize
Stockholm (AFP) Oct 11, 2012
Mo Yan, one of China's leading writers of the past half-century, on Thursday won the Nobel Literature Prize for his writing that mixes folk tales, history and the contemporary, the Swedish Academy announced. At 57 he became the first Chinese national to win the prize, and the initial official reaction indicated it would be held up as a victory for China, in sharp contrast to Beijing's angry ... read more
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