Chinese author Mo Yan said he was delighted at winning this year’s Nobel prize for literature on Thursday, which will inspire him to “strive harder” in his writing, state media reported.
“On hearing the news that I won the award, I was very happy,” Mo Yan was quoted as saying by the official China News Service.
“I will focus on creating new works. I will strive harder to thank everyone.”
The Swedish Academy which announced the award in Stockholm said Mo Yan, 57, one of China’s leading authors of recent decades, was recognised for works that “create a world reminiscent in its complexity of those in the writings of William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marquez”.
The prize is a “happy thing” for China’s literary world, an official with the state-sanctioned Chinese Writer’s Association said.
“We are very happy. This is a happy thing for the China litreary world,” He Jianming, vice chairman of the association, told state television.
Mo Yan became the first Chinese national and just the second Chinese-language writer to be awarded the coveted prize.
The positive response from the writer’s association indicated China would hold up the award as a victory for the state literature policy of the Communist Party, which muzzles critical voices among writers.
That would stand in sharp contrast to Beijing’s reaction toward previous China-related Nobel wins.
The government was highly critical of the litreature prize awarded to author Gao Xingjian in 2000, the first Chinese-language writer to win the award. Gao had fled China in the 1980s and took French citizenship in 1997.
Beijing also loudly denounced the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in 1989 and to jailed political dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010.
Liu won the Peace Prize for his advocacy of democratic change in the country.
China lashed out, refusing to let Liu attend the award ceremony in Oslo, vilifying the Norwegian committee that chooses the awards as “clowns” and punishing Norway’s government with diplomatic retaliation.