|Mo Yan's hometown, Ping'an village Photo: Xu Ming/ GT |
Upon arriving, it would be hard to miss the fact that Mo Yan's (Guan Moye) hometown is Ping'an village, Gaomi. Recent changes were made to the village to remind people that the small area birthed a Nobel Prize winner. At a cross, a blue sign with white words, "Mo Yan's Old House," is hung high on a pole, with an arrow pointing to a bridge leading to the village.
Big red lanterns adorn every road in the village, installed after Mo won the prize on October 11. On the back walls of several one-story homes, banners reading, "Congratulate Hometown Writer, Mo Yan Won the Nobel Prize in Literature," are everywhere.
Villagers busy harvesting corn kindly lead the way after seeing journalists from far away. "Are you looking for Mo's home?" they ask. The pride the village holds as the birthplace of a Nobel Prize winner is evident.
At the entry to the village is a steel engraving of the names of sponsors who contributed to the building of local roads in 2009. Mo Yan is on the top of the list. But for Mo, this is just one way of repaying a village that gave him so much more.
"My hometown is closely connected to my literary career and my growth," Mo said at a press conference in Gaomi, after winning the prize.
Mo told reporters that his fellow countrymen gave him his preliminary education in literature with their interesting stories.
"Folk tales are important elements in my novels. This style influences much of my novels."
The 57-year-old writer has produced over 100 novels, mostly set against the background of his hometown, known as the "northeast village" in his works.
His father, elder brother, aunts and other relatives still live in the village. Mo, who now mostly lives in Beijing, calls home every Saturday and goes home every Spring Festival to have a big family reunion, Mo's father, Guan Yifan, told the Global Times.
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