Nearly two years after Kyung-Sook Shin’s Please Look After Mom became the first book by a Korean author to win the Man Asian Literary Prize for her novel Please Look After Mom, Korean author Han Kang has taken the first step towards a possible similar triumph by being longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize.
Vegetarian is a harrowing (originally seraliized in three sections and reviewed on KTLIT here) story of a woman’s descent towards death, which begins with her apparently simple decision to cease eating meat.
The Man Booker International Prize is given in partnership with the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and is awarded annually to one work of translated fiction. Unusually, £50,000 prize wis split between the author of the winning book and the book’s translator (In the case of Vegetarian, Deborah Smith, who did an excellent job, obviously). The judging committee considered 155 books and chose 13 works for the longlist.
On April 14th, the committee will announce it’s shortlist, and KTLIT fervently hopes that Vegetarian will not only make it to that round, but win the prize.
The competition certainly will be fierce, as the longlist is full of great works:
Author (nationality) Translator Title (imprint)
- José Eduardo Agualusa (Angola) Daniel Hahn, A General Theory of Oblivion (Harvill Secker)
- Elena Ferrante (Italy) Ann Goldstein, The Story of the Lost Child (Europa Editions)
- Han Kang (South Korea) Deborah Smith, The Vegetarian (Portobello Books)
- Maylis de Kerangal (France) Jessica Moore, Mend the Living (Maclehose Press)
- Eka Kurniawan (Indonesia) Labodalih Sembiring, Man Tiger (Verso Books)
- Yan Lianke (China) Carlos Rojas, The Four Books (Chatto & Windus)
- Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Democratic Republic of Congo/Austria) Roland Glasser, Tram 83 (Jacaranda)
- Raduan Nassar (Brazil) Stefan Tobler, A Cup of Rage (Penguin Modern Classics)
- Marie NDiaye (France) Jordan Stump, Ladivine (Maclehose Press)
- Kenzaburō Ōe (Japan) Deborah Boliner Boem, Death by Water (Atlantic Books)
- Aki Ollikainen (Finland) Emily Jeremiah & Fleur Jeremiah, White Hunger (Peirene Press)
- Orhan Pamuk (Turkey) Ekin Oklap, A Strangeness in My Mind (Faber & Faber)
- Robert Seethaler (Austria) Charlotte Collins, A Whole Life (Picador)
Obviously some very heavy-hitters there, making the list extremely prestigious.