A tall story

Updated: 2012-12-09 13:53

By Diao Ying, in Stockholm, and Mei Jia, in Beijing (China Daily)

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A tall story

Mo Yan talks about his mother, hometown and controversy surrounding his selection as a Nobel winner on Friday. Jonas Ekstromer / Scanpix Sweden / AFP

While quoting Mo Yan as saying that speeches are blown away by the wind, Diao Ying, in Stockholm, and Mei Jia, in Beijing, believe his Nobel Lecture will be remembered.

"Two hours ago, the wife of the general secretary of the Swedish Academy had a baby girl. It is the beginning of a beautiful story."

Neatly putting an emphasis on his storytelling craft is how writer Mo Yan prefaced his Nobel Lecture in Literature speech, "Storyteller", on Friday (Saturday, Beijing time) in Stockholm.

For 40 minutes he talked about his mother's influence on him as a person and a writer, his literary inspirations, and how he dealt with the controversy that followed the announcement of his Nobel victory.

Related: Mo Yan arrives in Stockholm for Nobel Prize ceremonies

He told his audience that as a boy he told stories to cheer up his mother, and added that poverty and solitude fueled his imagination as a writer after he grew up.

Additionally, authors such as William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marquez inspired him, he said, especially their bold, unrestrained spirits.

"A person should be humble in daily life, but follow one's instinct and take control when it comes to literary creation."

He said the soul of his work is the boy in Transparent Carrot who has an almost superhuman ability to bear suffering. He added that he also tried to make his hometown of Gaomi in Shandong province a microcosm of China and the world.

His greatest challenge, he said, was writing novels that deal with social realities.

Special: Mo Yan

 A tall story

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