GAOMI, Shandong - Chinese writer Mo Yan said late Thursday that he was "very surprised" at winning the Nobel Literature Prize.
Speaking to reporters at a hotel in his hometown Gaomi city in east China's Shandong Province, Mo said "(I was) very surprised upon winning 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,"
"I am very happy," he said. "I was having dinner when I received the news. I was surprised."
"Thank you for coming all the way to Gaomi. This should be a season of red sorghum, but no such crop is planted any more. I believe none of you have seen the crop," 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.
"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.
"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. 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 added.
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.
Born into a farmer's family in a village in Gaomi, Mo has been known since the late 1980s for his novels such as Big Breasts and Wide Hips and Red Sorghum, which was later adapted into a film by director Zhang Yimou.