Currently the most comprehensive exposition of his work is Shelly W. Chan's A Subversive Voice in China: The Fictional World of Mo Yan published by Cambria Press in 2011.
Yesterday, there was talk from the PRC that, if Mo Yan won the prize, this would be the first for China, but that is far from the truth, since Gao Xingjian won the literature prize in 2000 and Liu Xiaobo — who languishes in prison — won the peace prize in 2010.
Despite the good news for Mo Yan that is being trumpeted around the world, his simple two syllable pen name is being murdered as "Mow Yawn", "Moe Yahng", and so forth. Here is a recording of what it sounds like in Modern Standard Mandarin as pronounced by a native speaker.
The biggest challenge is what to do with the vowel of the first syllable. David Moser writes,
…one of my quick-and-dirty shortcuts to get Chinese-clueless foreigners to pronounce "Mo" (since it's my surname in Chinese, btw) is to have them pronounce "more" with a strong Brooklyn accent, as in "gimme some mwah". (Not sure if Brooklyn is the right location, but you know what I mean).
Once you master the "o" of "Mo", you can use the same sound in the last syllable of Liu Xiaobo's name and in the surname of the former Communist Party Secretary of Chongqing municipality and Central Politburo member, Bo Xilai (sounds like "Buo She-lie"), whose wife, Gu Kailai, allegedly murdered the British businessman, Neil Heywood.
As for pinyin "yan", Mark Swofford wrote a blog post about how to pronounce it already back in 2009.
So, congratulations to Mo Yan — not "Mow Yawn", "Moe Yahng", or whatever.
[Thanks to Anne Henochowicz, Grace Wu, and Sophie Wei]