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Mo Yan draws on youthful experience in writing

Posted on Oct 11, 07:19PM | IANS

Chinese writer Mo Yan who won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature Thursday was born in 1955 in China's Shandong province. In 1976, he joined the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and during this time he began to study literature and write.

As a 12-year-old during the Cultural Revolution he left school to work first in agriculture, later in a factory. His parents were farmers.

His first short story was published in a literary journal in 1981, according to the Nobel Prize website.

His breakthrough came a few years later with the novella "Touming de hong luobo" in 1986. In his writing Mo Yan draws on his youthful experiences and on settings in the province of his birth. He grew up in Gaomi.

This is apparent in his novel "Hong gaoliang jiazu" in 1987, (in English "Red Sorghum" 1993). The book consists of five stories that unfold and interweave in Gaomi in several turbulent decades in the 20th century.

The novel "Tiantang suantai zhi ge" in 1988, (in English "The Garlic Ballads" 1995) and his satirical "Jiuguo" in 1992, (in English "The Republic of Wine" 2000) have been judged subversive because of their sharp criticism of contemporary Chinese society.

Through a mixture of fantasy and reality, historical and social perspectives, Mo Yan has created a world reminiscent in its complexity of those in the writings of William Faulkner and Gabriel García Marquez, at the same time finding a departure point in old Chinese literature and in oral tradition, the website said.

In addition to his novels, Mo Yan has published many short stories and essays on various topics, and despite his social criticism is seen in his homeland as one of the foremost contemporary authors.