MOSCOW, October 11 (Itar-Tass) — Russian writers are happy that Mo Yan of China has won the Nobel Literature Prize this year but say that they wished to see writer Fazil Iskander as the winner.
“It’s a pity that the prize went to the Chinese writer, we supported the candidacy of Fazil Iskander,” Sergei Filatov, the president of the Socio-Economic Initiatives Foundation and chairman of the Moscow Writers’ Union, told a news conference at Itar-Tass on Thursday.
Irina Barmetova, the editor-in-chief of the Oktyabr magazine, said that she could only feel happy for the Chinese who turned out to be the first even in literature.
Alexey Alyokhin, the editor-in-chief of the Arion magazine, said he didn’t know Mo Yan’s books very well because only fragments of them had been translated into Russian.
Mr. Mo was born in 1955 in Gaomi, China. The name Mo Yan is a pseudonym for Guan Moye. He is the son of farmers who left school during the Cultural Revolution to work, first in agriculture and later in a factory.
In 1976 he joined the People’s Liberation Army and began to study literature and write. His first short story was published in a literary journal in 1981. The Nobel Committee believes that in it the author “merged folk tales, history and the contemporary with hallucinatory realism”.
Mo Yan’s first novel appeared in 1986. His novel “Red Sorghum” was screened in 1987.
The novel titled “The Garlic Ballads” and other of Mo Yan’s works were called subversive because of their sharp criticism of contemporary Chinese society.
Other works include “Big Breasts and Wide Hips” (1996), “Life and Death are Wearing Me Out” (2006) and “Sandalwood Death,” to be published in English in 2013. His most recent published work, called “Wa” in Chinese (2009) shows the consequences of China’s single-child policy.
Mr. Mo was one of three writers tipped by bookmakers to break what critics had seen as a preponderance of European winners over the past decade.
The prize is worth 8 million Swedish kronor, about $1.2 million.
Nobel committees have announced prizes so far this week in physics, chemistry and medicine. The 2012 Nobel Peace laureate is to be named on Friday by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and the prize in economics is to be announced on Monday by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.