MO YAN: Mo Yan, who uses growing up in northeastern China for his storytelling, received the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, the selection committee announced Thursday.
Mo Yan, a pseudonym for Guan Moye, is a writer who, "with hallucinatory realism, merges folk tales, history and the contemporary," the committee said in a release.
Born in 1955 and 12 years old when the Cultural Revolution began, Mo Yan left school to work as a farmer and then in a factory. In 1976, he joined the People's Liberation Army and began to study literature and write.
Mo Yan, whose first short story was published in a literary journal in 1981, is considered in China one of the country's foremost contemporary authors, the committee said.
In his writings, Mo Yan draws on his experiences and settings growing up in Shangong province, as evidenced in his 1987 novel, "Hong gaoliang jiazu" ("Red Sorghum"), in which five stories unfold and interweave over decades in the 20th century, depicting bandit culture, the Japanese occupation and harsh conditions poor farmworkers endured.
The 1988 novel "Tiantang suantai zhi ge" ("The Garlic Ballads") and his 1992 satire "Jiuguo" ("The Republic of Wine") were judged subversive because of their criticism of contemporary Chinese society.
"Through a mixture of fantasy and reality, historical and social perspectives, Mo Yan has created a world reminiscent in its complexity of those in the writings of William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, at the same time finding a departure point in old Chinese literature and in oral tradition," the committee release said.
Besides his novels, Mo Yan has published short stories and essays on a variety of subjects.
TOM HANKS: Double Oscar-winner Tom Hanks is to make his Broadway debut in the world premiere of the late Nora Ephron's play "Lucky Guy," producers said.
Ephron wrote and directed two of Hanks' biggest hits -- "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail."
Helmed by George C. Wolfe, "Lucky Guy" will play a limited engagement at the Broadhurst Theatre, with an opening night planned for April 1.
Previews will begin March 1 and additional casting is expected to be announced in coming weeks.
The play is set in the "scandal- and graffiti-ridden New York of the 1980s, as told through the story of the charismatic and controversial tabloid columnist Mike McAlary," a synopsis said. "From his sensational reporting of New York's major police corruption to the libel suit that nearly ended his career, the play dramatizes the story of McAlary's meteoric rise, fall and rise again, ending with his coverage of the Abner Louima case for which he won the Pulitzer Prize, shortly before his untimely death on Christmas Day 1998."
Hanks will play McAlary in "Lucky Guy." His film credits include "Splash," "Forrest Gump," "Philadelphia," "Apollo 13," "Saving Private Ryan," "Cast Away," "The Da Vinci Code," "Angels & Demons" and the upcoming "Cloud Atlas."
Ephron died this year of cancer. She was 71.
The salute will air on the cable network Nov. 14 and will include short films, musical performances, sketch comedy. It will culminate in an appearance by Murphy.
"There is no better time than the present to honor a man who has for three decades touched the hearts of millions through laughter," Murphy's brother and the program's executive producer Vernon Lynch said in a statement.
RIHANNA: Rihanna says her seventh studio album, "Unapologetic," will be released worldwide next month through the U.S. record label Island Def Jam.
The six-time Grammy Award winner's seventh album in seven years is to arrive in stores Nov. 19.
"Diamonds," the first single off her latest CD, is already a hit.