Mo Yan (b. February 17, 1955) is a modern Chinese author, described as "one of the most famous, oft-banned and widely pirated of all Chinese writers". His works have been translated into more than a dozen languages, including English, German and French. "Mo Yan" meaning "don't speak" in Chinese, is the pen name of Guan Moye. Born in the Shandong province to a family of farmers, he left school during the Cultural Revolution to work in a factory that produced oil. He joined the People's Liberation Army at age twenty, and began writing while he was still a soldier, in 1981. Three years later, he was given a teaching position at the Department of Literature in the Army's Cultural Academy. Mo Yan's works are predominantly social commentaries, and he is strongly influenced by the political critique of Lu Xun and the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Using dazzling, complex, and often graphically violent images, Mo Yan draws readers into the disturbing yet beautiful, kaleidoscopic universes of his stories. Awards he has received include: Kiriyama Prize Notable Books (for Big Breasts and Wide Hips, 2005), Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize XVII (2006), Man Asian Literary Prize nominee (for Big Breasts and Wide Hips, 2007), Newman Prize for Chinese Literature (for Soaring, 2009). Mo Yan was winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature.