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Mo Yan: Nobel Prize is like a mirror reflecting attitudes

By Ye Xin  (People's Daily Online)

14:36, April 03, 2013

Mo Yan (L) and J.M. Coetzee (R) address at the 2nd China-Australia Literary Forum titled on "Literature & Inclusiveness" kicking off in Beijing on April 2, 2013. (People's Daily Online / Yu Kai)

Beijing, April 2 (People's Daily Online) - "Nobel Prize is just like a mirror that reflects various attitudes about my winning, and more, reflects the real me," Mo Yan, the 2012 Nobel laureate in literature, shared his feeling about the prize to his counterpart J.M. Coetzee, the 2003 Nobel laureate in literature.

Mo Yan and J.M. Coetzee were brought together by the 2nd China-Australia Literary Forum on "Literature & Inclusiveness" which kicked off Tuesday in Beijing. They shared their views on the Nobel Prize for Literature and its significance as well as topics such as writers' creations.

Mo Yan admitted that he misunderstood the criteria of the academy's selection before he visited Stockholm to receive the prize in last December.

Mo said: "I thought they were judging the authors' personality or political features, but after several days' exchange with all walks of life in Sweden, I learned the sole criterion of their selection is literature itself, which is also deeply based in the Swedish people's long-established practice of reading a large number of books."

While J.M. Coetzee, who is born in South Africa and living in Australia, thinks the Nobel Prize is unique but it's not perfect.

Coetzee said that Alfred Nobel, the founder of the prize, had his own literary tastes. Nobel's personal preference that literary works show "progress and power of the human spirit" could be an influence on the Swedish Academy's choices.

Although it is Coetzee's first visit to China in an official capacity, his works, including Life & Times of Michael K and Disgrace, have been popular among Chinese readers.

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