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News Analysis: How did Mo Yan win Nobel Prize in Literature?

By Yan Hao (Xinhua)

09:10, October 12, 2012

Mo Yan, after winning the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, is interviewed by the press in his hometown Gaomi, east China's Shandong Province, Oct. 11, 2012. Chinese writer Mo Yan has won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Academy announced in Stockholm on Thursday. (Xinhua/Zhao Xiaoyu)

BEIJING, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The breaking news of Mo Yan's Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday evening soon aroused public curiosity of the 57-year-old Chinese writer: Why was it him that was favored by the Swedish Academy?

Less than half an hour after the announcement from Stockholm, Mo's works turned to "sold-out" status at China's major online book sellers.

One lucky buyer wrote in an online comment: "Rushed to purchase, but to my shame, I have not read any of his novels."

Although Mo was entitled one of the top domestic literature awards before the Nobel Prize, he is not the most popular novelist in China, in either the book market or in reputation.

Chinese media seemed to be stunned as some journalists were reported to be on their way overnight to Gaomi City of east China's Shandong Province, Mo's birthplace where he stayed with his family.

Born in 1955 into a rural family, Mo dropped out of school and became a farmer when he was a teenager. He joined the military and devoted himself to writing after Chinese literary circles started the introspective ideology for the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

For more than a century, Nobel Prize has been regarded by the world as recognition to an individual or even a nation's cultural and scientific advances.

Despite an economic miracle in the past few decades, scientists and experts in physics, chemistry and medicine have so far been deemed hopeless by the Chinese public to win Nobel Prizes in sciences.

Chinese scientists' failure to win a Nobel Prize has been blamed on the lack of originality, creativity and being xenocentric. However, Mo's novels, although believed by some to be too rustic, are labeled as realistic portrayals of contemporary Chinese people.

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