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  •  Openlink Vol 23 Issue 4 (Dec 2014)
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    President's Message
    25th Anniversary Activities
    Mo Yan, OUHK honorary Doctor of Letters and Nobel Laureate in Literature, revisits OU family video
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    Mo Yan, OUHK honorary Doctor of Letters and Nobel Laureate in Literature, revisits OU family

    Mo Yan, OUHK honorary Doctor of Letters and Nobel Laureate in Literature, gave a public lecture entitled ‘Hallucinatory Realism and Contemporary Chinese Literature’ on 2 December on the OUHK campus. At the invitation of the University, Mo Yan returned to Hong Kong for the first time since receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2012. The lecture attracted a full house of over 700 people, including individuals from literary and academic circles, teachers and students from the OUHK and secondary schools, as well as members of the public.

    Council Medal presented to ‘outstanding student’

    The OUHK conferred upon Mo Yan, the first Chinese Nobel Laureate in Literature, the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, in 2005 in recognition of his achievements in literature and creative writing. While celebrating the Silver Jubilee Anniversary, the OUHK was most honoured to have Mo Yan revisit the University. This visit was the culminating event of the University’s year-long celebrations. In addition to the public lecture and a dialogue with Prof. Liu Zaifu, Mo Yan also shared his insights and experiences in creative writing in a separate sharing session with a group of students from the School of Arts and Social Sciences, and met with media leaders and literary and academic figures at a dinner reception hosted by the OUHK.

    To mark this special occasion, one month prior to the event the University Library and the School of Arts and Social Sciences jointly organized a series of activities to introduce the works of Mo Yan. These included a book display presenting the essential works of Mo Yan and selected biographies and studies about him, a talk entitled ‘Film Adaptations of Mo Yan’s Fiction’ illustrating the relationship between literary work and film adaptation, as well as a screening of the award-winning film adapted from Mo Yan’s famous novel Red Sorghum. Co-organized by Ming Pao Monthly and the Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture, the event also included a book sale held by the Commercial Press.

    In his welcoming speech, President Prof. Yuk-Shan Wong urged Mo Yan to continue to support the OUHK by giving lectures to our students, and inspiring and driving the creative passion of our young talents. Following the lecture was the presentation of a Council Medal to Mo Yan by the Council Chairman Dr Eddy C Fong in recognition of the tremendous achievements of the University’s ‘outstanding student’.

    Mo Yan explains hallucinatory realism

    When making the Nobel Prize announcement in 2012, the Swedish Academy praised Mo Yan as an author who ‘with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary’. In his lecture on hallucinatory realism at the OUHK, Mo Yan made references to his many works of fiction and analysed the mysteries contained in his works.

    Mo Yan agreed with the label of ‘hallucinatory realism’ used by the Academy and said, ‘there are indeed many fantastic plots in my works’. He mentioned the child in The Crystal Carrot, the fox in Explorations, and the red horse in The Garlic Ballads to illustrate his unique writing style. In conclusion, he explained the link between hallucination, realism and life, saying, ‘A writer should move forward with the times and establish a close relationship with China. With an ability to imagine illusion, he can then write a realistic story that goes beyond reality.’

    Prof. Liu Zaifu: Mo Yan’s three keys to success

    Following the lecture was a dialogue between Mo Yan and Prof. Liu Zaifu, former Director of the Institute of Literature at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and renowned critic of contemporary Chinese literature. Prof. Liu pointed out that there are three keys to Mo Yan’s success: his inspiration taken from nature, his unique mythical writing style and his immense boldness of vision. In response, Mo Yan elucidated on the impact of his homeland and childhood on both the content and style of his writing. However he emphasized that a writer’s works should continue to grow with age.

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