“The Vegetarian” Wins World’s Biggest Translation Award

May 17, 2016 Natalie Williams

South Korean novel, "The Vegetarian" won the 2016 Man Booker International Prize (MBIP) for fiction. The novel was written by Han Kang and translated by Deborah Smith, an English scholar who began learning Korean only seven years ago. It is published by Portobello in Britain and by Hogarth in America.

The novel is about a woman who rejects eating meat. It is written in three parts, each narrated by a different character. It is described as, "strange, visionary and transgressive."

gpi-the vegetarian-home

Boyd Tonkin, chair of the 2016 MBIP judges said: "This compact, exquisite and disturbing book will linger long in the minds, and maybe the dreams, of its readers. Ms. Smith's perfectly judged translation matches its uncanny blend of beauty and horror at every turn."

Finalists for this prestigious award were books from Angola, Austria, China, Italy, Turkey and South Korea.

Previously, the award was given every two years for books written in English or translated. Now, it is given for a single translated book published in Britain within a given year.

According to a survey by Nielson Book, literary fiction accounted for only 7% of fiction sales in Britain in 2015, but translated fiction sales have nearly doubled in the past 15 years. The survey also found that translated literary fiction now sells better than books originally written in English.

Image Credit: Roger Blagg

To read more, please see: A South Korean novel wins the world's biggest translation award.

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About the Author

Natalie Williams

Global Digital Marketing Manager. Natalie was born and raised in Montana where she graduated from The University of Montana with a degree in Business Administration. Her international experience includes two summer programs, one at The European Business School in Germany and the other at The University of Brescia in Italy. She studied a variety of global business subjects including international business, trade, culture and language. Key projects for her undergrad studies included meeting with executives from large corporations such as Lufthansa, Opel, and The European Central Bank as well as working with the design team on the marketing plan for the 2015 World Fair in Milan, Italy. She has a range of global event management experience including organization of the Annual Mansfield Conference on the Middle East and the China Town Hall meeting series. Her hobbies include yoga, cooking, reading, being outdoors and traveling.

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