Ai Weiwei on Mo Yan’s Noble Prize for Literature: ‘Organizers Have Removed Themselves From Reality’

Ai. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

This year’s Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to Chinese novelist Mo Yan. He is the first writer from that country to win the accolade. The Communist Party, naturally, is pleased. Artist and activist Ai Weiwei is not, London’s The Week reports on its website.

Though some critics have championed Mo Yan for his inventiveness—”He has such a damn unique way of writing,” Peter Englund, head of the Swedish Academy, told The Week—and for being critical of official Chinese policy in some of his works, Mr. Ai hammered him for not condemning the continued imprisonment of dissident Liu Xiaobo, who won the Nobel Peace Prize two years ago.

From The Week:

“His [Mo’s] winning won’t be of any help for Liu Xiaobo, unless Mo Yan expresses his concern for him,” said Ai.

“But Mo Yan has stated in the past that he has nothing to say about Liu Xiaobo. I think the Nobel organisers have removed themselves from reality by awarding this prize. I really don’t understand it.”

In other Ai news, his latest gallery exhibitions open at Mary Boone’s two New York spaces on Saturday, Oct. 13. He will not be in attendance. Chinese authorities have held his passport since he was detained last year.