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Wittenberg Professors To Host Reading And Roundtable Discussion Of Nobel Prize-Winning Novelist Mo Yan

November 9, 2012  
 Filed in Community, Events

Author Mo Yan (left) meets with Wittenberg professors Shelley Chan and Howard Choy during the 2008 MLA conference in San Francisco.

Springfield, Ohio – Nobel Prize-winning Chinese novelist Mo Yan, author of the acclaimed novel Red Sorghum, is the subject of a Reading & Roundtable Discussion at 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, in 131 Hollenbeck Hall.

Four faculty members will lead the Reading & Roundtable Discussion, highlighted by Associate Professor of Chinese Language and Cultural Studies Shelley Chan, author of A Subversive Voice in China: The Fictional World of Mo Yan. She will be joined by Associate Professor of Languages and Cultural Studies Howard Choy, who will chair the roundtable and discuss the globalization of contemporary Chinese literature, Associate Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures Christine McIntyre, who will discuss the influence of Latin American magical realism on Mo Yan, and Professor of Communication Matthew Smith, who will discuss the film version of Red Sorghum.

Red Sorghum was published in 1987. His works, which often paint intricate portraits of Chinese rural life, have been widely translated and distributed throughout the world. His novels have been described as “predominantly social commentary,” influenced by the social realism of Lu Xun and the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

The selection of Mo Yan as the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature on Oct. 11 was widely celebrated in China, where he serves as vice chairman of the state-run Chinese Writers’ Association. Chan was interviewed by media outlets throughout the world, including those originating from Great Britain, the United States, China, Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Brazil, as an expert on one of the most widely read and best known contemporary Chinese writers.

The Nobel Prize committee described Mo Yan as an author “who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary,” and pointed out that “through a mixture of fantasy and reality, historical and social perspectives, Mo Yan has created a world reminiscent in its complexity of those in the writings of William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, at the same time finding a departure point in old Chinese literature and in oral tradition.”

A member of Wittenberg’s faculty since 2004, Chan specializes in modern and contemporary Chinese literature, culture and language pedagogy. She wrote her dissertation on the fiction of Mo Yan, and she is the editor of a volume of his selected stories for a Hong Kong publisher.

The Reading & Roundtable Discussion is jointly presented by the Departments of Foreign Languages & Literatures, East Asian Studies, International Studies, and Cinema Studies, and Thomas Library. A small exhibit of Mo Yan’s work will also be available in the lobby of Thomas Library.

Written By: Ryan Maurer

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