May 25, 2016 11:34
Han Kang, the winner of the Man Booker International Prize, on Monday told reporters she felt "strange" on winning the award for a novel published nine years ago.
"The Vegetarian," was completed 11 years ago but only published in English last year. Kang spoke of her amazement at winning an award overseas.
The novel follows the story of a woman who decides to stop eating meat due to a traumatic experience in her childhood, and believes she is turning into a tree. First published in 2007, "The Vegetarian" sold 20,000 copies until last year, but sales have surged since the English translation won the prize.
Changbi Publishers said it has printed another 250,000. So far, publishing rights for the novel have been sold in 27 countries.
"Human Acts," another novel by Han, has also been translated into English and publishing deals have been signed in 10 countries.
Speaking at an event in Seoul, Han praised Deborah Smith, the Briton who translated "The Vegetarian," for her superb job bringing to life the meaning and subtle nuances she intended.
The occasion was the launch of her new novel, "The Elegy of Whiteness," which she said expresses the resilience of human beings in the face of lifelong suffering.
Han says she is planning a new novel and wants to start writing as soon as possible. She urged readers to approach her books not to seek answers, but to be exposed to more questions and to open their hearts and minds in embracing Korean literature.
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