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Hwang Sok-yong’s 'Mater 2-10' shortlisted for 2024 International Booker Prize

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : April 9, 2024 - 22:48

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The Korean edition (left) and English edition of The Korean edition (left) and English edition of "Mater 2-10" by Hwang Sok-yong, translated by Sora Kim-Russell and Youngjae Josephine Bae (Changbi Publishers, Scribe Publications)

South Korean novelist Hwang Sok-yong's "Mater 2-10" has been shortlisted for the 2024 International Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world, along with the Nobel Prize in literature and the French Goncourt Prize.

The British prize was established in 2005 to honor an author and translator equally for a single work of fiction translated into English, selected from entries published in the UK or Ireland.

The novel, co-translated by Sora Kim-Russell and Youngjae Josephine Bae, was among six other shortlisted works announced by the organizer on Tuesday.

The International Booker Prize introduced the novel as “an epic, multi-generational tale that threads together a century of Korean history, written by one of South Korea’s most important authors.”

Centered on three generations of a family of rail workers and a laid-off factory worker staging a high-altitude sit-in, “Mater 2-10” (titled “Three Generations of Railworkers” in Korean) depicts the lives of ordinary working-class Koreans. The narrative unfolds from the Japanese colonial era, through liberation and into the 21st century, spanning over a century.

This is the second time Hwang has been nominated for the award. In 2019, his work “At Dusk,” also translated by Kim-Russell, secured a spot on the longlist.

The winning title will be announced at a ceremony in London on May 21. The top prize of 50,000 pounds ($65,000) will be shared equally by the author and the translator.