The Korea Herald


[Breaking] Cheon Myeong-kwan's 'Whale' shortlisted for International Booker Prize

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : April 18, 2023 - 19:36

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English edition of English edition of "Whale" by Cheon Myeong-kwan (The Booker Prizes)

South Korean novelist Cheon Myeong-kwan's "Whale" has been shortlisted for the 2023 International Booker Prize, one of the three most prestigious literary awards in the world.

The British prize was established in 2005 to honor an author and translator equally for a single work of fiction translated into English.

The novel, translated by Chi-young Kim and published by Europa Editions on Jan 19, was among six other works that made it to the shortlist, announced by the organizer on Tuesday.

The story of an ambitious woman named Geum-bok, who goes from being a mountain village girl to a small-town entrepreneur, was among the 13 preliminary nominations that were announced on March 14.

The Booker Prize described the book as "an adventure-satire of epic proportions, which sheds new light on the changes Korea experienced in its rapid transition from pre-modern to post-modern society" on its website.

Cheon is the fifth Korean to be nominated for the prize. Bora Chung's “Cursed Bunny” and Park Sang-young’s “Love in the Big City” were nominated in 2022; Han Kang in 2016 and 2018; and Hwang Sok-yong in 2019. Han won the prize for “The Vegetarian” in 2016.

The winning title is scheduled to be announced on May 23.