Mao Dun Literature Prize

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A statue of Mao Dun, at his former residence in Beijing.

Mao Dun Literature Prize (Chinese: 茅盾文学奖; pinyin: Máo Dùn Wénxué Jiǎng) is a prize for novels, established in the will of prominent Chinese writer Mao Dun (for which he personally donated 250,000 RMB) and sponsored by the China Writers Association. Awarded every four years, it is one of the most prestigious literature prizes in China. It was first awarded in 1982.

Selection rules[edit]

According to selection rule, any work, authored by Chinese nationals, published in mainland China, and with over 130,000 characters, is eligible.

The selection committee in the Chinese Writers Association holds the voting poll twice, and the winner must receive over 2/3 of the votes cast. The process is highly selective and each time, the number of winners is between three and five. The prize is awarded every four years, though it was originally awarded every three years.


The award was recently criticized for the 2011 awards,[1] when it was revealed that eight of the top ten on the list were either the chair or vice-chairpersons of prominent provincial writers' associations.[1] An editorial in the China Daily stated "official status cannot and should not be a criterion for literary excellence. That's why people doubt the authenticity of prizes that are awarded to officials for their literary achievements."[1]

To avoid such controversy, novelist Tie Ning decided her works will not enter the awards as long as she is chairwoman of China Writers Association, a position she took in 2006.[2]

Winners and nominees[edit]

1982 (1st)
  • Xu Mao and His Daughters (许茂和他的女儿们) by Zhou Keqin
  • Orient (东方) by Wei Wei
  • General's Chant (将军吟) by Mo Yingfeng
  • Li Zicheng (李自成) by Yao Xueyin
  • A Small Town Called Hibiscus (芙蓉镇) by Gu Hua
  • Spring in Winter (冬天里的春天) by Li Guowen
1985 (2nd)
  • The Yellow River Flows to the East (黄河东流去) by Li Zhun
  • Leaden Wings (沉重的翅膀) by Zhang Jie
  • The Wedding Party (钟鼓楼) by Liu Xinwu
1991 (3rd)

Honorary awards:

  • Bloody Heaven (浴血罗霄) by Xiao Ke
  • Broken Golden Bowl (金瓯缺) by Xu Xingye
1997 (4th)
2000 (5th)
2005 (6th)
2008 (7th)
2011 (8th)[4]

Nominated works:

2015 (9th)[5]
  • Jiangnan Trilogy (江南三部曲) by Ge Fei
  • The Scenery Around Here (这边风景) by Wang Meng
  • Book of Life (生命册) by Li Peifu
  • Blossoms (繁华) by Jin Yucheng
  • Shadow of the Hunter (黄雀记) by Su Tong

Nominated works:

  • My Country, My Blood (吾血吾土) by Fan Wen [zh]
  • Kalabu Storm (喀拉布风暴) by Hong Ke
  • Going North (北去来辞) by Lin Bai
  • Jerusalem (耶路撒冷) by Xu Zechen
  • Above Living (活着之上) by Yan Zhen
2019 (10th)[6]

Nominated works:

2023 (11th)[7]

Nominated works:

Works available in English translation[edit]



  • 2011 (8th) - Jiang Zilong, Empires of Dust (trans. Christopher Payne and Olivia Milburn, Sinoist Books, 2019)
  • 2015 (9th) - Fan Wen [zh], My Country, My Blood (trans. Scott Rainen, Big Sky Publishing, 2019)
  • 2019 (10th) - Liu Liangcheng [zh], Bearing Word (trans. Jeremy Tiang, Balestier Press, 2023)


  1. ^ a b c "Literary prizes or farcical awards", China Daily, 2011-8-16.
  2. ^ (in Chinese) 第七届茅盾文学奖初选结束 《狼图腾》落选
  3. ^ Ying, Li-hua (2021-11-15). Historical Dictionary of Modern Chinese Literature. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-5381-3006-3.
  4. ^ (in Chinese) 第八届茅盾文学奖第五轮实名投票情况
  5. ^ (in Chinese) 第九届茅盾文学奖第六轮实名投票情况[dead link]
  6. ^ (in Chinese) [1]
  7. ^ (in Chinese) [2]

External links[edit]