Korean novels published overseas win multiple awards on the world stage

This image provided by the International Booker Prize shows the cover of Chung Bora’s “Cursed Bunny” published by Honford Star. (International Booker Prize)

The presence of Korean literature is growing widely around the world, as local translations have won or been nominated for several literature awards outside the country.

An English translation of Chung Bora’s “Cursed Bunny” published by British publisher Honford Star has been chosen as one of six finalists for this year’s International Booker Prize announced on Thursday.

She became the second Korean author to make the shortlist after Han Kang, who achieved the feat in 2016 and 2018 with “The Vegetarian” and “The White Book,” respectively.

Korean novelist Park Sang-young was shortlisted for the award with Chung last month for an English edition of “Love in the Big City” published by Tilted Axis Press in Britain.

Both works were translated by Swedish-born Korean Anton Hur, who was also nominated for the International Booker Prize which honors an author and a translator equally for a single work of fiction translated into English.

Hur is well known for his English translations of many Korean novels, including Hwang Sok-yong’s “The Prisoner” and Shin Kyung-sook’s “Violets”. He now teaches students at the Translation Academy of the Literary Translation Institute of Korea.

In Japan, a Japanese version of “Counterattack at Thirty,” written by Sohn Won-pyung and published by Shodensha, won an annual award from Japanese bookstores in the translated novel category on Wednesday. Sohn’s previous work “Almond”, which sold over 90,000 copies in Japan, received the same award in 2020.

Akiko Yajima, who translated Sohn’s two plays into Japanese, also worked on a Japanese translation of “Taste of Mandarin” by Cho Nam-ju, the author of the popular feminist story “Kim Ji-young, Born 1982 “.

In the Czech Republic, a local translation of “Grass”, a graphic novel by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, was named best translated work in the country’s annual Muriel Award for Best Comics.

It was published by British publisher Centrala and translated by Petra Ben Ari, who interpreted some Korean novels, including Han Kang’s “Vegetarian,” into the Czech language.

The Literature Translation Institute of Korea, which funded the cross-linguistic interpretations of the award-winning books, said an increasing number of local translations of Korean novels will pave the way for overseas readers to access Korean literature more easily.

“Some 200 Korean literary works will be published overseas,” he said. “We expect Korean novels and authors to play a role in broadening the horizons of the Korean Wave in literature.” (Yonhap)

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