Mo Yan

Nobel winner Mo Yan country's second-wealthiest writer

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 November, 2012, 3:06am

Less than two months after winning the Nobel Prize for literature, Mo Yan can claim another distinction: China's second-richest writer.

New interest in his work at home and abroad brought the 57-year-old novelist estimated annual royalties of 21.5 million yuan (HK$26.5 million) and catapulted him to No2 on the new China's Richest Writers List released yesterday.

Last year, the author failed to make the top 30. But the surge in book sales was not enough to unseat renowned children's author, Zheng Yuanjie, who returned to the top spot with 26 million yuan in annual income.

Zheng, regarded as China's answer to Hans Christian Andersen, has created many popular fairy tale characters such as Pipilu and Shuke which has enchanted generations of teenage readers for 25 years.

He has regularly featured in the top 10 since the rich list debuted in 2006.

The list's founder, Wu Huaiyao , told the West China City Daily that Mo Yan clearly benefited from the Nobel committee's October 11 decision, making him the first Chinese national to the prestigious prize. A 10-year-old manuscript by Mo Yan reportedly sold for 1.2 million yuan days after his win.

The only previous time Mo Yan made the rich list was in 2006, when he earned and estimated 3.45 million yuan in royalties and was ranked 20th.

Mo Yan, who's works include Red Sorghum, Republic of Wine and Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out, is not the only one cashing in on his new-found fame. Officials in his rural Shandong province hometown of Gaomi have announced 670 million yuan is to be spent on Mo Yan-themed projects to attract tourists.

Wu's group also for the first time published a rich list for online writers, with Zhang Wei , a mystery writer better known by his online name of Tangjia Sanshao, raking in 33 million yuan since 2007, although that is still far less than how much top print writers made.

Yin Jianli , a non-fiction writer who ranked 21st with 2.7 million yuan in earnings this year, said that the list is fairly authoritative, although she had no idea of how organisers come up with the figures.