Mo Yan, 57, author of Red Sorghum, The Garlic Ballads, and Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out, surprised bookworms around the globe when he became the second Chinese writer in history to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, beating out rumored favorite Haruki Murakami, 63.

"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 García Márquez, at the same time finding a departure point in old Chinese literature and in oral tradition," read the Swedish Academy's official announcement.

Mo's latest book to be translated into English, Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out, was described by the New York Times as, "a kind of documentary, carrying the reader across time from the land reform at the end of the Chinese Civil War, through the establishment of mutual-aid teams and lower-level cooperatives in the early and mid-1950s, into the extreme years of the Great Leap Forward and the famine of the late ’50s and early ’60s, and on to the steady erosion of the collective economy in the new era of largely unregulated 'capitalism with socialist characteristics.'"

Mo, who has been widely banned in China, explained that censorship is not always an adversary. "Many approaches to literature have political bearings, for example in our real life there might be some sharp or sensitive issues that they do not wish to touch upon,” he said. “At such a juncture a writer can inject their own imagination to isolate them from the real world or maybe they can exaggerate the situation – making sure it is bold, vivid and has the signature of our real world. So, actually I believe these limitations or censorship is great for literature creation.”

Mo Yan, whose real name is Guan Moye, means "don't speak." The Nobel Prize in Literature comes with a $1.2 million prize.

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