'It's as if I am under a social microscope': Mo

Updated: 2012-10-19 07:52

By Mo Yan (China Daily)

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I received the Nobel Prize with trepidation. I'm well aware that quite a few writers in the world are qualified to win the award, and many Chinese writers write stories as good as mine.

I never thought of the Nobel when I started to write. Not just the Nobel, I never thought about winning any award in China. Somehow there was the motivation to achieve fame and wealth to change my living conditions. But more important is the urge to tell stories and to express something.

'It's as if I am under a social microscope': Mo

Noble laureate in literature Mo Yan takes questions from reporters in Beijing on Thursday. The writer made his first appearance in Beijing after he won the prize and gave a speech at a seminar held by the Chinese Academy of Arts on Thursday. Liao Pan / China News Service 

I was fascinated by literature and arts from a young age and loved to describe things and people I adore to others.

The men I admired most were the storytellers. There were many kinds of storytellers in my hometown, in the local market, the fields and even at the stables. I was a listener as well as a re-teller. I retold the stories to my parents and brothers. They did not like it at first, but had to get used to it. My mother allowed me to go to the market and the neighboring villages to listen to stories. Every night, she did needlework by oil lamp while listening to me telling stories. Sometimes, I could not remember clearly what I heard from the storytellers, so I had to create stories myself. That was how I started to create stories.

It's easy to write one story, but very hard to keep writing and innovating. I have to keep struggling with myself and challenging myself. Of course, I have a strong will to create something new, but cannot avoid difficulties.

I've heard all kinds of praise and criticism. Thanks for the beautiful praise that encouraged me to go on, and I also feel grateful for the sharp criticism, which helped me improve myself.

Receiving the Nobel Prize was a baptism to me. The heated discussion about the award and me was a mirror through which I saw peoples' hearts, the state of society, and more importantly, myself.

The Internet and social media provide me the opportunity to know different people's comments about me. I would feel uncomfortable about some harsh criticism at one point, but later I would find something reasonable in it. Now it's as if I am under a social microscope. I'm not myself, but an observer. And that guy under the microscope is not myself, but a writer named Mo Yan.

China Daily reporter Chen Jie compiled the article based on Mo Yan's speech delivered at a celebration meeting held by the Chinese Academy of Arts on Thursday morning.