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Don’t Speak for Mo Yan?
October 31, 2012

The world’s most prestigious award for literature has been announced this month, and it is only proper that Book Lover’s Club News gives you all the scoop on it. This year the Nobel Prize for Literature went to Mo Yan. And while his name literally translates into ‘Don’t Speak’, I personally find it very difficult to remain silent on all the juicy banter associated with this year’s winner. Here goes:

The Novel

Mo Yan This year’s prize was won by Chinese author Mo Yan much to the delight of the nation which was quick to interpret the event as recognition of Chinese literature in the world arena. The only other Chinese author to receive this award is Gao Xingjian but he lives in exile in France. Getting prestigious international awards are an important Chinese symbol for emergence as a formidable world power.

Mo Yan is actually the penname for Guan Moye who used the name to connote the dangers of speaking too much in Communist China. And rightly enough, Mo Yan has often been criticized as being a populist government stooge with doubtful intellectual credentials.

Fans however like to portray this facet in a more positive light, affirming that Mo Yan has the astuteness to depict Chinese socio-economic crises in a politically acceptable manner. In fact, Peter Englund, the academy’s secretary explains, “He writes about the peasantry, about life in the countryside, about people struggling to survive, struggling for their dignity, sometimes winning but most of the time losing”. This subject matter, combined with his unique writing style of ‘hallucinatory realism’, has made him a worthy winner of the impressive Nobel.

Book Review Circle gossip

Each year, before the actual Oscar winners are announced, a betting firm based out of London -Ladbrokes publishes a list of unofficial Oscar nominees. The list is the subject of some big money betting. This year, the front runner for the literary Oscar from this list was Haruki Murakami. Mo Yan had a 12/1 odd against Murakami. So obviously, the surprising Oscar win has left Murakami fans disappointed. We have a review of a Murakami best seller, ‘Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World’ at If you want to know more on how he writes, click here.

Book Review Circle suggested read:

Red Sorghum. Mo Yan’s novel was later made into a very successful movie of the same name

Test your Literary Quotient

See if you know answers to the following:
  1. In 2011, the Nobel peace prize went to which Chinese rebel? The selection caused much embarrassment to the Chinese government.
  2. Name an American author who also won the Nobel for depicting Chinese peasant life.
  3. Name a contemporary author who has a similar writing style to Guan Moye. What is this writing style?


  1. Liu Xiaobo
  2. Pearl Buck
  3. Gabriel García Márquez, Magic Realism
Do write in to me at with your comments, updates and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Ok. I will leave you to munch on that.

Happy reading till we meet again.


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