Friday, October 12, 2012

The Most Pirated Chinese Writer Mo Yan Wins 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature

Mo Yan.

Xinhua‎ reports the cheering news of Chinese writer Mo Yan and famous author of Big Breasts and Wide Hips winning the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, announced by Peter Englund, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy in Stockholm on Thursday.

Mo Yan's real name is Guan Moye and his famous pen name "Mo Yan" (Chinese: 莫言) means "don't speak" in Chinese. Donald Morrison of TIME news magazine called Yan "one of the most famous and widely pirated of all Chinese writers".

A writer should express criticism and indignation at the dark side of society and the ugliness of human nature, but we should not use one uniform expression. Some may want to shout on the street, but we should tolerate those who hide in their rooms and use literature to voice their opinions.
~ Mo Yan, Frankfurt Book Fair, 2009. 

About Big Breasts and Wide Hips.

In his latest novel, Mo Yan—arguably China’s most important contemporary literary voice—recreates the historical sweep and earthy exuberance of his much acclaimed novel Red Sorghum. In a country where patriarchal favoritism and the primacy of sons survived multiple revolutions and an ideological earthquake, this epic novel is first and foremost about women, with the female body serving as the book’s central metaphor. The protagonist, Mother, is born in 1900 and married at seventeen into the Shangguan family. She has nine children, only one of whom is a boy—the narrator of the book. A spoiled and ineffectual child, he stands in stark contrast to his eight strong and forceful female siblings.

Mother, a survivor, is the quintessential strong woman who risks her life to save several of her children and grandchildren. The writing is picturesque, bawdy, shocking, and imaginative. The structure draws on the essentials of classical Chinese formalism and injects them with extraordinarily raw and surprising prose. Each of the seven chapters represents a different time period, from the end of the Qing dynasty up through the Japanese invasion in the 1930s, the civil war, the Cultural Revolution, and the post-Mao years. Now in a beautifully bound collectors edition, this stunning novel is Mo Yan’s searing vision of twentieth-century China.

Click here for the full report.

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