October 11, 2012
Chinese author Mo Yan has won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, who, according to the committee, “with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.”
From Nobel’s biography:
“As a twelve-year-old during the Cultural Revolution he left school to work, first in agriculture, later in a factory. In 1976 he joined the People’s Liberation Army and during this time began to study literature and write. His first short story was published in a literary journal in 1981. His breakthrough came a few years later with the novella Touming de hong luobo (1986, published in French as Le radis de cristal1993).”
You can read an interview with Mo Yan at Granta.
Here’s a Time profile of the author.
And another profile at China Through a Lens.
October 6, 2011
From the Nobel committee–
The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2011 is awarded to the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer “because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality”.
Here’s Tranströmer’s “After a Death,” translated by Robert Bly—
Once there was a shock
that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail.
It keeps us inside. It makes the TV pictures snowy.
It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires.
One can still go slowly on skis in the winter sun
through brush where a few leaves hang on.
They resemble pages torn from old telephone directories.
Names swallowed by the cold.
It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat
but often the shadow seems more real than the body.
The samurai looks insignificant
beside his armor of black dragon scales.