UPDATE 3-China's Mo Yan wins Nobel for "hallucinatory realism"


* Mo Yan is first Chinese national to win prize

* Name is pseudonym meaning "Don't Speak"

* "Unique way of writing," Swedish Academy says

(Adds further Mo Yan quotes)

By Johan Ahlander

STOCKHOLM, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Chinese writer Mo Yan won the2012 Nobel prize for literature on Thursday for works whichcombine "hallucinatory realism" with folk tales, history andcontemporary life in China.

Mo, who was once so destitute he ate tree bark and weeds tosurvive, is the first Chinese national to win the $1.2 millionliterature prize, awarded by the Swedish Academy.

He said the award made him "overjoyed and terrified".

Some of his books have been banned as "provocative andvulgar" by Chinese authorities but he has also been criticisedas being too close to the Communist Party.

While users of a popular Chinese microblogging site offeredtheir congratulations, dissident artist Ai Weiwei said hedisagreed with giving the award to a writer with the "taint ofgovernment" about him.

Mo, 57, who grew up in the town of Gaomi in Shandongprovince in the northeast of the country and whose parents werefarmers, sets his works mainly in the land of his birth.

Mo Yan is a pen name which means "Don't Speak". His realname is Guan Moye and he was forced to drop out of primaryschool and herd cattle during China's Cultural Revolution.

Speaking to the state-run China News Service, Mo said he washappy to have won.

"But I do not think that my winning can be seen asrepresenting anything. I think that China has many outstandingauthors, and their great works should also be recognised by theworld.

"Next, I'm going to put most of my efforts into creating mynew works. I will keep working hard, and I thank everyone. As towhether I go to Sweden to receive the prize, I will wait forword from the organisers about arrangements."


For an Interactive look at the 2012 Nobel Prizes awarded sofar please click on

For a Profile please click on For a Factbox^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> "AT HOME WITH HIS DAD"

Peter Englund, head of the Swedish Academy, said Mo was "athome with his dad" when he was told of the award.

"He said he was overjoyed and terrified," Englund toldSwedish television. "He has such a damn unique way of writing.If you read half a page of Mo Yan you immediately recognise itas him."

The award citation said Mo used a mixture of fantasy andreality, historical and social perspectives to create a worldwhich was reminiscent of the writings of William Faulkner andGabriel Garcia Marquez.

At the same time, he found a "departure point in old Chineseliterature and in oral tradition", the Academy said.

Englund said Mo offers "a unique insight into a unique worldin a quite unique manner."

His style is "a fountain of words and stories and storieswithin stories, then stories within the stories within thestories and so on. He's mesmerising," Englund told Reuterstelevision.

Mo is best known in the West for "Red Sorghum", whichportrayed the hardships endured by farmers in the early years ofcommunist rule and was made in a film directed by Zhang Yimou.His books also include "Big Breasts and Wide Hips" and "TheRepublic of Wine".

"My works are Chinese literature, which is part of worldliterature. They show the life of Chinese people as well as thecountry's unique culture and folk customs," Mo told reporters inhis hometown, Xinhua news agency reported.

The last Chinese-born winner was Gao Xingjian in 2000,although he was living in France by that time and had takenFrench citizenship. His Nobel was not celebrated by the Chinesegovernment.


Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily praised thewin in a commentary on its website ().

"This is the first Chinese writer who has won the NobelPrize for Literature. Chinese writers have waited too long, theChinese people have waited too long," it wrote.

Mo, a vice chairman of the government-backed ChineseWriters' Association, said he had nothing to say about LiuXiaobo, the jailed dissident who won the Nobel Peace Prize in2010 and whose name has been banned from public discussion inChina.

"His winning won't be of any help for Liu Xiaobo, unless MoYan expresses his concern for him," said Ai Weiwei.

"But Mo Yan has stated in the past that he has nothing tosay about Liu Xiaobo. I think the Nobel organisers have removedthemselves from reality by awarding this prize. I really don'tunderstand it."

Beijing-based writer Mo Zhixu said Mo Yan, who once copiedout by hand a speech by Chairman Mao Zedong for a commemorativebook, "doesn't have any independent personality."

Yu Shicun, a Beijing-based essayist and literary critic,said Mo Yan was a puzzling choice for the prize.

"I don't think this makes sense," said Yu in a telephoneinterview. "His works are from the 1980s, when he was influencedby Latin American literature. I don't think he's created his ownthings. We don't see him as an innovator in Chinese literature."

On the streets of Beijing, there was pride in Mo'sachievement.

"I think this is an unprecedented breakthrough, becausebefore this they spoke of Chinese nationals getting the Nobelprize, but it was only the peace prize, never the others such asthe literature, the physics and chemistry prizes," said XuJiebiao, 28-year-old IT consultant.

"So a Chinese getting the Nobel prize for literature willincrease the national pride."

The literature prize is the fourth of this year's crop ofprizes, which were established in the will of Swedish dynamiteinventor Alfred Nobel and awarded for the first time in 1901.

The writer, who was in the People's Liberation Army beforeprogressing to academia, was one of the favourites to win theaward this year, according to British bookmaker Ladbrokes, alongwith Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

(Additional reporting by Johan Ahlander, Simon Johnson, AnnaRingstrom, Niklas Pollard, Sui-Lee Wee, Ben Blanchard and LucyHornby; Writing by Giles Elgood; Editing by Peter Millership)

((Niklas.Pollard@thomsonreuters.com)(+46 70721 1110)(ReutersMessaging: niklas.pollard.reuters.com@reuters.net))