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Mo Yan - A Great Chinese Writer

Updated on April 14, 2020

Mo Yan: Nobel Prize Winner in Literature in 2012

The Nobel prize is not a great surprise for the readers of Mo Yan as they have expected it for his wonderful creative talents. The Chinese writer who has created his own way of story telling fusing traditional folk narratives, a new version of pseudo realism similar to the magical realism, and myriad fantasises is prominent novelist of contemporary China.

Mo Yan - His Life and Times

He is from Gaomi in Shandong province in north-eastern China which is away from the main centres of Chinese life. The early childhood of Mo Yan troubled one and his father sent him for work when he was 12 years old. The horrid expressions of fearful loneliness that he experienced in his childhood, when he had to work as cattle keeper from a very early age, is the source of his creative writings. He has a number of works in his credit. He published his first book in 1981. The book which received the greatest appreciation is Hong gaoliang jiazu (Red Sorghum), published in 1987, which pictures the Japan's invasion of China.

Mo Yan - A Writer and Critic

Though he is criticized for not presenting the concerns related with the freedom and transparency as demanded by some activists, his response is a writer uses his medium may ways to express his anxieties and it may not be as open as the much publicized activists many of whom live outside China.

Themes of Mo Yan's Novels

The main themes of Mo Yan writings are centered on the great narratives about the past of China. The turbulent history of his own country due to the influences internal and external forces is depicted in his stories. He is not much interested in the contemporary politics and resistance movements overtly as an artist who is very much aware about the sensitiveness of the establishment against such writings which will surely face censorship. But readers who are familiar with Chinese developments can recognize the dissidence in him in the creative hallucinations in his works against the present system of government which suppress even basic freedoms and human rights.


Mo Yan - A Social Critic

A writer has to find out new narrative strategy in a country like China to avoid censorship. The narrative style of Mo Yan which can be compared to the magical realism which is his way of expression of harsh realities and his anxieties. Though as a citizen of China he served in the People Libation Army and has become the part of the Chinese official media and literature, as a creative writer he has been with the millions who are suffering due to the suppressions and controls. “Frog”, his latest work, is a scathing attack on China's one child policy.

Mo Yan

Have you read any of Mo Yan's Novels ?

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Mo Yan - A Writer of Epics of Present World

The juxtaposition of present on the past to depict the parallels of turbulence in the minds of people and in the society as a whole is successfully attempted in the human chronicles of Mo Yan. He is a writer of epic tales about china symbolizing the folk tradition of making legends and mythical narratives with sardonic humor.

Mo Yan interview: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 - YouTube

Peasant struggle, cultural disintegration, diversity of elemental human life, and fantasies of suppressed as a way to escape the pains of lack of freedom and basic rights are illuminated in his writings.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Kumar Paral


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    • OGUNDARE OLUSEGUN profile image


      2 months ago from NIGERIA

      Thanks for this. Never heard of him before.


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