Nobel laureate Mo Yan turns professor

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Winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature, Chinese writer Mo Yan (L, front), receives an interview at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 14, 2012. Mo Yan returned to Beijing on Friday after receiving Nobel Prize in Literature at the 2012 Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden. [Photo: Xinhua] 

Chinese writer Mo Yan on Tuesday recalled his poor performance at college as the 2012 Nobel laureate was hired as a literature professor by Beijing Normal University.

Beijing Normal University on Tuesday afternoon held a ceremony to welcome and issue the employment certificate to their "alumnus Mo." The author was granted a master's degree in literature and arts in 1991 after studying in a post-graduate program at the university.

Mo said he felt "ashamed" as he did not study hard at the university and his graduation was thanks to his professors' generous grading.

"I took a glimpse at my files for those years, and I can assure you they did not make for good reading at all," he said.

Born into a farmer's family in eastern Shandong Province in 1955, Mo only attended primary school and dropped out at age 11 to herd cattle, his adventure into literature only starting with his childhood habit of reading.

Mo became a published author in 1981, and his works merge "hallucinatory realism" with "folk tales, history and the contemporary," according to the official Noble citation.

His success in Stockholm has inspired a China-wide "Mo Mania." His books have become best sellers, and his hometown of Gaomi has announced plans to build a tourist town featuring scenes from Mo's novels like Red Sorghum.

"I think we are overreacting a bit," Mo remarked upon his Nobel win at the ceremony. "There are many excellent writers in China and in the world who deserve the Nobel prize, I'm just more lucky."

Tong Qingbing, who was Mo's tutor at Beijing Normal University, praised him for his literary talents.

"Mo was being humble by saying he was just a farmer good at story telling. Actually, storytelling is never easy, and it is remarkable that he can tell stories with such poetic charms," Tong said.

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