The home town of Mo Yan, the winner of this year's Nobel Prize for literature, may be the next big tourist destination in China.
Tourism officials within the Communist Party are hoping to capitalize on what is being dubbed "Mo-mania" by building attractions in Mo Yan's hometown of Gaomi, Shandong, reports Xinhua.
"Gaomi is no longer what it was," poet Li Danping told Xinhua. "It is now the holy land of the country, Mecca of Chinese literature."
At the center of the plan is a scheme to attract visitors by planting a large crop of red sorghum.
This grain is of particular significance to Mo Yan's career: “Red Sorghum," one of the author's best-known works, was the basis for an award winning film. He is said to have lamented the loss of the crop, which local farmers abandoned because of its low profit margin.
“The plan is high-risk as sorghum itself can hardly develop into a profitable industry,” Fan Wei, director of the local committee, told the paper. “But we expect the government to approve this plan as great investment can bring big development.”
According to the Financial Times, Fan Wei also told the author's father that he needed to refurbish the family home because "the house and the son were no longer his alone but belonged to Chinese society now."
Recently, Chinese officials also sought to drive domestic tourism in the country by opening an atomic bomb test facility.
Gaomi, in eastern China's Shandong province, produces a great deal of corn as well as Nobel Prize writers.
Students play basketball at a school in Gaomi, which is not known for its scenic splendor.
Children play in a sand pit on a school athletics ground in Gaomi. As in a lot of Chinese towns, the skyline is dominated by seemingly urban constructions.
Gaomi sits close to the coastal city of Qingdao.
The coast line is a destination even if the waters in northern China are a bit chilly.
Shandong's Mount Tai is considered to be a holy site associated with rebirth. Though the tallest peak, Jade Emperor Peak, isn't particularly high it is regarded with some reverence.
Mo Yan at a press conference in Gaomi.
The press descending on Gaomi after news of the award hit the wires.