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Korean novels published overseas win multiple prizes on global stage

Art/Culture 10:43 April 08, 2022

SEOUL, April 8 (Yonhap) -- The presence of Korean literature is growing widely in the world as local translations have won or been nominated for multiple prizes from literature awards outside of the country.

An English translation of Chung Bora's "Cursed Bunny" published by British publisher Honford Star was chosen as one of the six finalists for this year's International Booker Prize announced 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 longlisted for the prize together 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 Sweden-born Korean Anton Hur, who was also nominated for the International Booker Prize that honors an author and translator equally for a single work of fiction translated into English.

Hur is well known for English translations of many Korean novels, including "The Prisoner" by Hwang Sok-yong and "Violets" by Shin Kyung-sook. He now teaches students at the Translation Academy under the Literature Translation Institute of Korea.

This image provided by the International Booker Prize shows the cover of Chung Bora's "Cursed Bunny" published by Honford Star. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

In Japan, a Japanese version of "Counterattack at Thirty," penned by Sohn Won-pyung and published by Shodensha, won an annual award given by Japanese bookstores in the translated novel category Wednesday. Sohn's previous work "Almond," which sold more than 90,000 copies in Japan, was awarded the same prize in 2020.

Akiko Yajima, who translated Sohn's two pieces 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 at the country's annual Muriel Award for best comic books.

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

The Literature Translation Institute of Korea, which has funded interlingual renditions of the award-winning books, said a growing number of local translations of Korean novels will pave the way for overseas reader to gain easier access to Korean literature.

"Some 200 Korean literary works will be published overseas," it said. "We expect that Korean novels and authors will play a role in expanding the horizons of the Korean wave in literature."

This image provided by the Literature Translation Institute of Korea shows the cover of Keum Suk Gendry-Kim's "Grass." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

brk@yna.co.kr
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