June 25, 2015

Shin Kyung-sook says her publisher will withdraw story collection


Author photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Author photo via Wikimedia Commons.

After suggestions that Shin Kyung-sook, author of the Man Asian prize-winning Please Look After Mom, may have plagiarized lines from the likes of Yukio Mishima, the publisher of her story collection has decided to withdraw its edition. The author apologized in a newspaper interview, published yesterday.

Shin says she has asked her publisher to remove the story in question from her book The Strawberry Field. An article by Lee Eung-Jun, published last week, led to an investigation into Kyung-sook’s works by The Seoul Central Prosecutors Office.

“It is all my fault that I created a situation that I have to come out in public and express my stance. I sincerely apologize,” Shin said in an interview with Kyunghyang Shinmun.

Alison Flood of The Guardian reveals that other, potentially more significant charges are still at stake:

Meanwhile university literature professor Hyun Tac-soo is also alleging that Shin partly plagiarised passages from the prolific German author Luise Rinser’s The Middle of Life for her prize-winning novel Please Look After Mother, as well as the passages from Patriotism. According to Yonhap, he has filed a complaint with the authorities, and he told the news agency that he has “no intent to cancel the measure”.

“What Shin disclosed through the interview was not an apology. I felt she was only trying to justify herself without admitting to plagiarism,” he said.

This happened very quickly, but it’s still the beginning of Shin’s investigation.


Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.