Ever since Chinese novelist Mo Yan (莫言) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on October 11, Chinese media have gone into overdrive reporting on the choice, often as a national victory for Chinese culture. Since Monday this week, at least 1,201 articles mentioning Mo Yan have appeared in China’s domestic newspapers. The vast majority of these are from commercial newspapers, but many provincial and city-level Party newspapers have also run coverage about Mo.
In today’s edition, the Chinese Communist Party’s official People’s Daily runs an interview with Mo Yan. He is asked for his thoughts on the honor, how the prize has changed him or his outlook on his work, for his views on contemporary Chinese literature.
At the end of the interview the People’s Daily asks Mo the question we all would like an answer to: “In your December 10 acceptance speech, what will you say?”
Mo Yan responds:
I will say things that are real. I will speak the truth. Actually, I have two acceptance speeches. One is five minutes long, another is 45 minutes long. I’ve not entirely prepared them. The next things I need to think about are these speeches. Some people have admonished me, saying I need to say this thing, and some have tried to inspire me to say that thing. As for me, well, I want more to use my own way to talk about what I aspire to, and to talk about the things I’m sincere about. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has stipulated that before November 5 I must inform them of the topic of my speech. Before November 12, I must deliver a copy of my speech to them. This allows them the time translate it, because the speech will be simultaneously translated over the 5 minutes.