The Korea Herald


Author Lee Geum-yi shortlisted for Hans Christian Andersen Award

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : Jan. 22, 2024 - 17:19

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Lee Geum-yi (KBBY) Lee Geum-yi (KBBY)

Children's book and young adult novelist Lee Geum-yi has made the shortlist for the 2024 Hans Christian Andersen Award, a prestigious accolade often referred to as the "Nobel Prize" of children's literature.

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) recently announced the shortlist for this year’s award, listing Lee among the six finalists. This is the first time a South Korean novelist has been shortlisted for the literature biennale, which started in 1956 to honor the Danish children’s story writer, Hans Christian Andersen. The award recognizes one living author and one living illustrator who has made a lasting contribution to children’s literature. In 2022, illustrator Suzy Lee won the illustration award, becoming the first Korean to receive the prize.

The other nominees include Marina Colasanti from Brazil, Hans Janisch from Austria, Bart Moeyaert from Belgium, Timo Parvela from Finland, and Edward van de Vendel from the Netherlands.

The Korean Board on Books for Young People, the Korean branch of the IBBY, introduced Lee as someone who can evoke universal emotions from international readers while also having distinct Korean features in her stories.

Lee, 62, debuted in 1984 with the short story “With Younggu and Heukgu.” Her works include the historical novels “The Picture Bride,” “Can’t I Go Instead,” the coming-of-age novel “Yujin and Yujin,” and the children's books “You are a Twilight Lily, Too" and “Sohee’s Room.”

Recently, Lee’s historical novels “The Picture Bride” and “Can’t I Go Instead” have been translated by An Seonjae, and were published in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

Lee was also nominated as the Korean candidate by KBBY for the Andersen Prize in 2020.

The winners of the prize will be announced on April 8 at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.