Mo Yan, 57, the first native Chinese writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, has landed in the media's spotlight.
The Swedish Academy announced on October 11 that Mo had received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work, described as hallucinatory realism merging into folk tales, history and the contemporary.
"I think they understand my novels. I don't know that it's accurate to say my works are the fusion of hallucinatory realism and folk tales. I'd rather say it merges fiction and folk stories, social problems and historical events. Maybe that's more accurate," Mo said.
Overnight, news about the Chinese author filled the front page of almost every Chinese newspaper, magazine and website. But for the writer himself, the process has brought in a wave of uncertainty.
"When I heard that I won the Nobel Prize, I was pleasantly surprised and frightened," Mo said. "I was surprised because I was not expecting to receive this award. I was happy because I'm the prize winner after all. But I was frightened because I still have no idea how to handle this. There was so much press, and as a nobel winner, I don't know if it will cause more people stare at me and find my faults. That's why I'm frightened."
Mo's novels, such as The Red Sorghum, Sandalwood Death, Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out, and Frog are among the most popular within international communities.
"Readers are similar everywhere. There must be some people who love my works and some who don't. I can't push them. So in fact, every writer picks their own readers," Mo said.
Mo was born in 1955, in a rural area in Shandong Province. In his early years, he experienced poverty, hunger and was repressed by a particularly harsh father. He didn't have chance to read many books, but folk stories told by local people became the root of Mo's later writings.
"I always listened to stories told by elders, including fairy tales, legends, history, battles in one area, legendary people in another, and disasters they'd heard of," Mo said. "They are the source of my writing. I put almost all of them into my novels."
Dozens of years of life in the village became his own treasure. People will not find it useful if they're not a writer. But as a writer, it's extraordinarily valuable and important. He thinks that's the main reason why his novels are different from others. "If I had grown up reading classic novels, I wouldn't have become Mo Yan," he said.
Mo's novels have already sold out in many Chinese book stores. The craze has led to a growing interest in the publishing field as well.
"This is abnormal. Everything will return to normal after a while," Mo said, "I'm always a bit nervous when my novel's sales increase. The more they sell, the more I'm frightened. Many readers will assume that the works of the Nobel Prize winner must be the best of the best, the cream of the crop. I'm afraid they may feel disappointed by my works."
Mo's win ignited many Chinese peoples' interests in literature. But the author has his own opinion. "It will soon go away. People will go back to their old ways," Mo said. "The change is just short term. This will slowly fade, and all will move forward following the nature of life."(CNTV.cn October 16, 2012)