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Award puts Chinese books on world stage


Mo Yan talks about his mother, hometown and controversy surrounding his selection as a Nobel winner on Friday. [Photo/Agencies]

Mohammed Elshijh, an Egyptian doctoral candidate at Beijing Language and Cultural University, chose to study Chinese literature after receiving his bachelor's degree in 1999.

As countries with long, rich histories, China and Egypt have much in common, Elshijh said, adding that Mo Yan, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature, is also popular in his motherland.

"I have read Mo's novels such as Red Sorghum and Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out. His books are full of the smells of the countryside and reflect the relationship between the land and farmers," Elshijh said.

On Oct 11, Mo, 57, became the first Chinese writer to win the top literary prize. He will attend the award ceremony on December 10.

The Swedish Academy described Mo's works as having combined "hallucinatory realism" with Chinese folk tales, history and contemporary life.

"Through a mixture of fantasy and reality, historical and social perspectives, Mo Yan created a world reminiscent in its complexity of those in the writings of William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, at the same time finding a departure point in old Chinese literature and in oral tradition," the academy's citation for the award said.

Elshijh said he was excited when he learned that Mo had won the prize.

"Mo's winning of the prize is pushing Egypt to translate more of his works into Arabic," Elshijh said, adding that there is already an Arabic edition of Red Sorghum. And Egypt's Ministry of Culture recently announced it will translate another of Mo's works to Arabic.

However, contemporary Chinese literature remains less influential than mainstream Western literature, Elshijh said.

Designer Chen Bei works on the wardrobe for Mo and his family at the Nobel literature award presentation. [Photo Provided to China Daily]

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