Kyung-sook Shin has become the first woman to win the Man Asian Literary Prize, Asia’s prestigious award for writers, for her novel ‘Please Look After Mom’.
The South Korean novelist attended the black tie Prize Dinner at a hotel in Hong Kong to receive the award of US$30,000. The translator of the novel, Chi-Young Kim also received US$5,000.
The win is the first for a South Korean writer, and ‘Please Look After Mom’ is the first novel by a South Korean to make it to the Man Asian Literary Prize shortlist in the Prize’s five year history.
‘Please Look After Mom’ is a deeply moving story of a family’s search for their mother, who goes missing one afternoon amid the crowds of the Seoul Station subway. It offers the reader an insight into traditional family life in contemporary South Korea and has already sold 1.93m copies in South Korea alone – a country with a population of just under 50m people.
Following the shortlisting, the novel is now set to be published in 32 countries. 90 books were submitted for the Prize in 2011 with a longlist of twelve being announced in October 2011 and an unprecedented shortlist of seven revealed in January – owing to the strength of Asian literature.
Full press release
The Man Asian Literary Prize was founded in 2007. It is an annual literary award given to the best novel by an Asian writer, either written in English or translated into English, and published in the previous calendar year. The judges choose a longlist of 10 to 15 titles announced in October, followed by a shortlist of 5 to 6 titles announced in January, and a winner is awarded in March.