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Nobel Prize for literature not a "top award": Mo Yan

world Updated: Oct 12, 2012 02:37 IST
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Stunned at winning the Nobel Prize for literature, Chinese writer Mo Yan said today that he would not regard it as a "top award" even though he considered it important.

"Winning the Nobel prize has stunned me, as I always thought it was very distant for me," Mo said in an interview posted on the Nobel prize website.

"(I was) very surprised to win the prize because I felt I was not very senior in terms of qualification (among Chinese writers). There are many good writers and my ranking was not so high," state media quoted Mo as saying after the announcement of the award.

"I am very happy. I was having dinner when I received the news. I was surprised," he said.

"The Nobel Literature Prize is a very important literature prize, but not the top award. It represents the opinions of the jury. I am satisfied with my major works and I still keep writing by hand", Mo said.

"My works are Chinese literature, which is part of world literature. They show the life of Chinese people as well as the country's unique culture and folk customs," 57-year-old Mo said.

"Meanwhile, my novels described human beings in the broad sense. I wrote in the perspective of a human being. These works stand beyond regions and ethnic groups," he said.

"The folk arts and folk culture accompanied my growth and I was influenced by the cultural elements I witnessed through my childhood," Mo said.

"When I picked up the pen for literature creation, the folk cultural elements inevitably entered my novels and affected and even determined the artistic styles of my works," he said.

Mo's win brought joy to other writers and readers throughout the country as he is the first Chinese national to win the Nobel Literature Prize in its century-long history.

The author, whose real name is Guan Moye, was nominated along with Canada's Alice Munro and Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami.

Most of the Chinese writers warmly greeted him on becoming the first Chinese author to get the Nobel Prize for literature even though he was regarded as close to the ruling Communist Party.

In an earlier interview before the Prize was announced, Mo attributed much of his urge to write to the turbulent childhood he had after he was sent out by father to look after their cow in the village.

"A lonely boy stayed with the cow the whole day," was how Mo, summed up his initiation into literature.

"All I could see is the blue sky, white clouds grass and locusts and other small animals and a cow. I was really lonely. Some times I repeated a song with different notes. Some times I talked to cow and talked to myself", he said, struggling for words to describe the painful childhood years.

Most of Mo Yan's works are set in his own hometown, Gaomi County, in East China's Shandong Province.