Shandong Culture

Mo Yan

( Updated: 2020-05-08

Mo Yan

Mo Yan speaks to writers at a forum about how he finds literary inspiration. [Photo/Xinhua]

Mo Yan is the pen name of Guan Moye, one of the most celebrated Chinese writers.

Donald Morrison of TIME magazine once referred to him as "one of the most famous, oft-banned and widely pirated of all Chinese writers" while Jim Leach dubbed him as China's answer to Franz Kafka or Joseph Heller.

Mo's best-known novels in the West include Shifu: You'll Do Anything for a Laugh, Big Breasts and Wide Hip and Red Sorghum, which was made into an award-winning film The Garlic Ballads. He was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first resident of mainland China to win the award.

"My hometown and my literature are closely related," says Mo, a native of Gaomi, a county-level city in Shandong province.

"Gaomi has many folk arts, such as clay sculpting, paper-cutting, flapping-ash Lunar New Year painting and Maoqiang opera. I grew up in an environment immersed with such rich folk culture, which inevitably infiltrates my novels when I pick up a pen to write. This has definitely affected - even determined - my works' artistic style."