March 16, 2012

South Korean is first woman to win the prestigious Man Asia Literary Prize


Man Asia winner, Shin Kyung-sook

South Korean novelist Shin Kyung-sook‘s novel Please Look After Mom has won the Man Asian Literary Prize, it was announced yesterday in Hong Kong. It is the first time the award has been given to a woman, and the first South Korean to ever win, as well.

Please Look After Mom, published here in the US by Vintage, tells the simple story of a family’s search for their mother after she disappears in a crowded train station in Seoul.

Chair of judging committee, Razia Iqbal said, “Please Look After Mom is an incredibly moving portrait of what it means to be a mother, but also of the tradition and modernity of the family in South Korea. The novel is a sensitive exploration of the inner life of the family with a very dynamic narrative structure. The story is surprising in its complexity yet has a beating heart at the centre of it.”

Kyung-sook is a widely acclaimed author in her native South Korea, with several novels and awards to her name. This is her first book to be translated into English.

The award ceremony was a black-tie affair, held in Hong Kong. And the prize was $30,000.


Valerie Merians is the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.