Mo Yan

New books on way from Nobel laureate Mo Yan

Demand for Mo Yan's work is red hot, and his publisher plans to meet that need with four fresh offerings

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 October, 2012, 5:27am

With his writings flying off bookshop shelves around the world, Mo Yan's publisher announced yesterday that the newly minted Nobel laureate would have four new books published by the year's end.

The first of the four new Chinese-language books, a pair of play scripts titled Womende Jingke, or "our Jingke", should hit the shelves before the end of the month.

The book offers an alternative history of an assassination attempt against China's first emperor, Qin Shihuang, who reigned from 221BC to 210BC.

Rather than describing the assassin - Jingke - as a warrior sacrificing himself for justice as the established histories do, Mo Yan's plays cast him as an ambitious adventurer in search of overnight fame.

One of the plays was staged by the Beijing People's Art Theatre in September.

The other three releases this year are expected to include a book of short stories, an anthology of essays and a collection of dialogues between Mo Yan and literary critic Wang Yao in 2002.

As the author's "unique authorised publishing company on the mainland", Beijing Genuine & Profound Cultural Development said yesterday it would also publish a complete collection of his 20 works to meet soaring demand. The collection would be available in hardcover and paperback.

Meanwhile, Mo Yan's books reportedly sold out from bookshops within hours of the Nobel Prize Committee's announcement yesterday.

Immediately after Peter Englund - permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy in Stockholm - announced Mo Yan's award on Thursday night, the Beijing Books Building set up a bookshelf exclusively for Mo Yan's works. It is the largest bookshop in central Beijing.

By yesterday morning, the shop's Mo Yan shelf was empty. His most recent novel, Frog, reportedly sold out 15 minutes after the shop opened at 9am.

Major online bookstores on the mainland, like were also struggling to meet the sudden surge in orders for Mo Yan's books.

In Hong Kong, the author's books were out of stock at Eslite, Chung Hwa and Joint Publishing bookstores yesterday, with Commercial Press saying they were 80 per cent sold out.

"Most readers looked for Mo Yan's books earlier," a spokesman for Commercial Press said. "Now, his famous books such as Big Breasts and Wide Hips and Life and Death are Wearing Me Out are all sold out."

Chou Ze-wung, 17, said he would look for Mo Yan's books in other stores. "Seldom does a Chinese writer get the prize, so I want to show my support for it."

However, Cecilia Wong Sze-wai, 20, said she had no intention of buying his books.

"I am surprised Mo Yan won, as Haruki Murakami is more famous. I don't know much about Chinese authors. I think they are more subjective and their works are boring."