(Reuters) - Here is a look at the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature, which was awarded on Thursday to Chinese writer Mo Yan, 57, who with “hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary”.
* His books include “Red Sorghum”, “Big Breasts & Wide Hips”, “Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out” and “Frog”. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Mao Dun Literary Prize.
* 105 Nobel literature prizes have been awarded and 109 authors have been awarded the prize since 1901. The prize was divided equally between two authors in 1904, 1917, 1966 and 1974. The youngest Literature laureate was Rudyard Kipling, best known for “The Jungle Book”. He was 42 years old when he was awarded the prize in 1907.
* Twelve women have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Swedish author Selma Lagerloef (1858-1940) was the first woman to be awarded the prize in 1909.
* Boris Pasternak initially accepted the 1958 prize but Soviet authorities forced him to decline. Jean Paul Sartre declined the 1964 prize, because he had consistently declined all official honours.
* Some famous winners: British writer Doris Lessing was the oldest winner of the prize. Nadime Gordimer, Albert Camus, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill and T. S. Eliot were among the most famous winners after World War Two. George Bernard Shaw won in 1925 “for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty”.
Sources: Reuters, nobelprize.org. Chambers Biographical Dictionary.
Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit