Wednesday, October 24, 2012

And now for something completely different: Disneyfication of "Red Sorghum"

Mo Yan (Guan Moye) has been selected for the Nobel Prize for Literature for 2012 and there a lot of speculation on how he and others might cash in since he is first Chinese laureate for literature who is neither in prison or nor living in exile.

He will be looking at Beijing real estate with the 8 million SEK (Swedish krona) that is granted as part of the prize but he will really cash in with sales of his existing books. For example his publisher is coming out with 200,000 copies of his collected works which include "16 of Mo's books, including 11 of his long novels and five medium- and short-length novels". Mainland wheelbarrow manufacturers are hoping for a spike in demand as soon as the collected works are issued if buyers want to transport the entire load from the bookstore.

Fan Hui, an otherwise unidentified local official is said to have approached Mo Yan's father with the request/demand that he refurbish the family home since it would become a place for literary pilgrims to visit and that the home now belonged to the state since the Nobel Prize was an honor for all of China. Locals have dug up radishes or grabbed stalks of drying corn from the family farm trying to make a few yuan selling produce grown in the soil trod upon by a certified in the west genius.

There is even talk of theme park based on Red Sorghum replacing Mo's house and planting acres of the no longer wanted red sorghum to go along with the possibly planned mill and distillery. I haven't read the novel but based only on the relentlessly dark Zhang Yimou movie a theme park be as likely as a musical comedy taken from the Book of Job.

Literary Saloon; Marginal Revolution; China Daily
Hat tip to Chris Blattman

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