The Nobel Prize Winner For Literature

2012 - Mo Yan

Other Names: Mo Yan (Pen Name of Guan Moye)

Born: 1955, Gaomi, China

Residence at the time of the award: China

Prize motivation: "who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary"

Field: Prose

Prize share: 1/1

Books Written By Mo Yan

About Mo Yan

Mo Yan's writings cover a wide span, from short stories, to novels, to essays. His path to a literary career was not clear-cut. Mo Yan was born to a poor farming family in Shandong Province, China. After only a few years of schooling, he began work as a cattle herder at the age of 11. As a young man, Mo Yan enlisted in the army, where his literary talent was first discovered. He published his first short story in 1981, which, like his earlier works, was written according to the prevailing literary dictates of the ruling regime.

Over time, however, Mo Yan's storytelling began to seek out its own, more independent paths. His international breakthrough came with the epic novel 'Red Sorghum'. Other famous works by the Nobel Prize-awarded author include 'The Garlic Ballads' and 'Life and Death are Wearing Me Out'. His narrative style bears the hallmarks of magical realism. Mo Yan's writing often uses older Chinese literature and popular oral traditions as a starting point, combining these with contemporary social issues.


Red Sorghum - Mo Yan

By Carno Polo

A novel of great intensity, takes the reader for a trip through China in the 1930s. This is the time of the Japanese occupation, and book continues through the first years of the Communist regime.

It is a novel but it will ring a bell with those who have studied the history of that period. Very graphic prose, and horrifying narration of the cruelty of that war. You don't get the strategic vision of the war here, but the local realities that affected everyday life. There are also sublime episodes of deep humanity. Not an easy read, not recommended for anyone of fragile character but one of the best books to get to the soul of China.


Red Sorghum - Mo Yan

By Ann

Describes a period of history about which I know nothing. Astonishing descriptions bring every scene to vivid life. Some ( the wedding, the funeral, exorcisms ) are haunting and evoke a China in the more beautiful films. Many are vile as heads burst like watermelons or dogs eat rotting people. Above, below and around the red sorghum at once like a sea, then a fog and then life sustaining. Hard work but worth it.