On May 16, Chinese renowned writer Yu Hua topped the 2021 long novel list of “Harvest” bimonthly magazine. During the award ceremony where Chinese literature Nobel laureate Mo Yan presented the award to Yu Hua, Mo Yan said that he had been struggling to write his speech for several days and sought help from ChatGPT.
At the award ceremony, Mo Yan humorously expressed that he had spent several days trying to write a speech for Yu Hua’s award but couldn’t come up with anything. Later, he used ChatGPT and inputted a few keywords such as “To Live”, “dental extraction” and “Wencheng“. Finally, ChatGPT wrote a Shakespearean-style essay of over 1000 words.
Mo Yan and Yu Hua are old friends in the literary world, and their works and stories are always highly regarded by Chinese people. During the award ceremony, Mo Yan intentionally created suspense. He said: “The winner this time is an extraordinary person. Of course, he is also my good friend. He is exceptional, so I am exceptional too.
Yu Hua used a photograph by Mo Yan as the cover for his work, and Mo Yan received a fee of 1000 yuan ($143) for it. When asked when we could see Mo Yan’s photography collection, he humorously replied: ‘Buy Yu Hua’s essays.’
Mo Yan also mentioned that when he was at the Lu Xun Literary Academy, Yu Hua often wrote next to him with a loud pen sound, which hindered his own writing.
Although the two writers joked around on stage, their friendship was very strong. Mo Yan also shared a little story about signing Yu Hua’s work. When sharing their creative process and character analysis, Mo Yan and Yu Hua made a series of memorable statements such as: “Literature cannot be higher than reality while reality is always broader than literature” and “The characters in novels are both me and not me. I write about myself but also others.”
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