Readersforum's Blog

October 22, 2012

Chinese author’s Nobel win prompts plans for hometown theme park

Mo Yan’s Nobel Prize for literature has created a firestorm in his rural hometown, with fans stealing vegetables from his family garden as souvenirs.

By Malcolm Moore

One week after Mo Yan became the first Chinese author to win the Nobel Prize, proud local officials rushed out a $110-million plan to transform his sleepy village into a Mo Yan Culture Experience Zone.

Until last week, the county of Gaomi in the eastern province of Shandong was a poor farming community. It was here that Mo ate tree bark and searched for wild vegetables to survive a tough childhood.

When reporters tracked down Mo, 57, to his family home after his prize, they found his 90-year-old father working the farm, unperturbed by the hullabaloo. But now, ambitious Communist party chiefs see a glorious future for the county as tourists flock to pay homage to the Nobel Prize winner.

On Tuesday, Fan Hui, a local official, paid a visit to Mo’s father to ask him to renovate the family home.

“Your son is no longer your son, and the house is no longer your house,” urged Fan, according to the Beijing News, explaining that the author was now the pride of China. “It does not really matter if you agree or not,” he added.

Fan has earmarked the family home as the main attraction of the Mo Yan Culture Experience Zone, but also has plans to create a theme park based on Mo’s 1987 work, Red Sorghum.

Unwanted and unprofitable, sorghum is no longer planted in the area, but this is not regarded as an obstacle.

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