July 25, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

The Mo Yan effect on China’s literary scene: WSJ

1 min read

MoYan_WSJ

A little more than a year later, the annual Bookworm Literary Festival, which has counted big-name international authors such as David Sedaris and Dave Eggers on the lecture roster in the past, in addition to well-known Chinese authors such as Mo Yan himself, is once again highlighting writers in China.

Has this interest had any effect on the domestic literary scene? China Real Time asked Eric Abrahamsen and Canaan Morse, editors and translators at the Chinese literary magazine Pathlight, to weigh in on the country’s literary scene.

Has the Chinese literary scene changed since Mo Yan won the Nobel?

Abrahamsen: It’s a little too early to tell. Especially when you’re talking about international editors developing an interest in Chinese literature. You’d be likely to see a result in three or four years.

Has an initial interest occurred?

Morse: I think it has. The most significant changes have been within China. The national secondary-school Chinese-language curriculums began to include Mo Yan. Some of Lu Xun’s works were kicked out.

Abrahamsen: The new canon.

Morse: Exactly. Mo Yan’s achievement allowed the machine that controls the ideological distribution in schools to have a new, living hero.

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