The Korea Herald


Translated Korean works receive international awards

By Lim Jang-won

Published : Oct. 14, 2020 - 17:37

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The graphic novel “Grass” by Keum Suk Gendry Kim was awarded “Best International Book” at the Harvey Awards, while the German translation of “Memoir of a Murderer” by Kim Young-ha was selected by Germany‘s Hotlist this month.
“Grass” by Keum Suk Gendry Kim (LTI Korea) “Grass” by Keum Suk Gendry Kim (LTI Korea)

“Grass” is a story about women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II. Most of the women were Korean.

The book was published in English last year by Drawn & Quarterly, a publisher in Canada that specializes in graphic novels, with support from the Literature Translation Institute of Kore.

“‘Grass’ speaks for the oppressed women and how humans live through trauma,” said Kim after receiving the award online.

Kim went on to commended Lee Ok-sun, the former military sex slave on whom her novel is based, and other former ”comfort women,“ as the military sex slaves are euphemistically called.

“Much courage is needed to reveal the inner pain that you want to hide from others,” said Kim.

It was nominated for three different categories at the Eisner Awards and was awarded the comic book award by the French daily, L’Humanite. It was also voted the best comic of 2019 by both The New York Times and The Guardian.

Along with the Eisner Award, the Harvey Award is one of the oldest and most prestigious awards in the comic industry. This is the first time a Korean work has received an award at the Harvey Awards. The award was given during New York Comic Con on Friday.
“Memoir of a Murderer” by Kim Young-ha (LTI Korea) “Memoir of a Murderer” by Kim Young-ha (LTI Korea)

“Memoir of a Murderer” by best-selling author Kim Young-ha, which was selected for this month‘s Hotlist, was translated into German with the support of LTI Korea.

The book was one of the 10 books picked for the Hotlist, which recognizes the best books written in German. A total of 170 German language books applied.

“How ‘Memoir of a Murderer’ approached Alzheimer’s and its crisp and ironic writing style were memorable. The author shows the extremities of Alzheimer’s through the novel by showing the process of a personality breaking down because of memory loss,” said official of Hotlist awards.

The book, released in Korea in 2013, is about a murderer who killed several people over a period of 30 years before quitting 26 years ago. At 70 and suffering from Alzheimer’s, the man plans to commit his last murder in order to save his daughter.

By Lim Jang-won (