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Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 22:21

Mo Yan urges youths to develop new rural literature

By Dara Wang

Mo Yan urges youths to develop new rural literature
Nobel Prize winning Chinese writer Mo Yan talks during a lecture at Hong Kong Baptist University, Oct 5, 2016. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)
HONG KONG – Mo Yan, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, said on Wednesday that young writers growing up in the countryside are the main force in developing a new wave of Chinese rural literature.

In a lecture at the Hong Kong Baptist University, Mo said that the concept of “country life” in China has been undergoing changes over the past decades.

He said his own childhood memories of the country are outmoded for literary creation, while young people’s deep insights about rural living have the potential to create good literature in keeping with the times.

Mo – the first person on the Chinese mainland to become a Nobel laureate in literature – said Chinese writers must seek inspiration from their local life and history to develop a distinctive literary style. Only by doing so can Chinese literature be tenable in the literary world, Mo stressed.

Mo revealed that he learned self-mockery from rural people and applied it to writing. “Writers using self-mockery debase themselves and shorten the psychological distance with readers,” he said – adding that such literary methods could make writers’ work more relatable and thus more likely to gain wide recognition.

Among Chinese literary masters, Mo said Lu Xun has had a great impact on his literary output. Readers, he said, could find similarities in the ideas between Mo’s novelette White Dog and the Swings and Lu’s The New Year Sacrifice. Both works focus on the mental issues faced by intellectuals who return to the countryside after living in urban areas for years.

Mo said this topic could be further explored as the problems still exist and have been complicated by urbanization.

When asked his opinions on emerging online novels, Mo said good literature could be varied in form, themes and even publishing channels, but that it must feature graceful language and style as well as impressively molded characters.

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