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Mo Yan hunted as media covers everything but books

By Xu Ming (Global Times)

09:13, November 02, 2012

Illustration: Liu Rui (Photo/GT)

After Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in Literature on October 11, "Have you found Mo Yan?" became a common greeting among journalists determined to hunt the laureate down in his hometown. The media went for Mo like hounds after a fox.

For a week, every media in China, including several foreign ones, flooded in the small city of Gaomi, Shandong Province, looking for Mo.

It was a media feast that no one wants to miss. Groups of journalists blockaded the door of his apartment. After days spent in vain, most of them returned to their headquarters as words came that Mo was in Beijing.

But the wave of hacks has returned again, as Mo has returned to Gaomi to attend the third Red Sorghum Cultural Festival this week, named after one of his novels. Most of the rooms in the city's big hotels are already booked out. Some media have been setting ambushes in the city for weeks, just waiting for Mo to appear. Even Mo himself said that "it's time to cool down Mo Yan fever."

The journalists come from all kind of magazines, papers, and TV shows, from literary journals to business weeklies. They all have their own angle. This is unsurprising. Since Mo is the first Chinese citizen living in the mainland to win the literature prize, it's become a national event, and the media is naturally interested.

But as both the media and netizens join the craze for Mo hunting, the originally serious event has turned into a circus show. Many media reports pry deep into the writer's private life, from his hopes to buy a house to his embarrassments in childhood, when he once fell into a cesspit and was a bedwetter.

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