The Korea Times


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Sales of translated Korean literature increase in domestic market

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The cover of Korean novelist Chung Bora's
The cover of Korean novelist Chung Bora's "Cursed Bunny" (2021), translated by Anton Hur / Courtesy of Honford Star

By Park Han-sol

From genre-defying short story collections to picture books with vibrant visuals, a string of translated Korean literary works have continued to gain international recognition, as they have been nominated for or named winners of coveted prizes in recent years.

In Korea, sales of such translated works that are being honored on the global stage are increasing as well, according to Yes24, one of Korea's leading online bookstores.

In March, Lee Suzy became the first Korean illustrator to win the distinguished Hans Christian Andersen Award for her lifelong contributions to literature for children. Her latest picture book, "Summer," also earned special mentions in the fiction category at this year's Bologna Ragazzi Awards.

Just weeks later, Chung Bora's short story anthology, "Cursed Bunny," made headlines after making it on to the shortlist of six titles for this year's International Booker Prize. The winning title is scheduled to be announced on May 26. Meanwhile, Sohn Won-pyung's "Counterattack at Thirty" took home the annual Japan Booksellers' Award in the excellent translation category.

According to Yes24, total sales of Korean literary works that have been translated into English and published in Korea's domestic market have shown a steady increase since 2020. In fact, this year's figure is 1.57 times higher than that of 2019, it stated.

Some of the most popular translated works in the domestic market are Chung's "Cursed Bunny," as well as Man Booker International Prize-winning Han Kang's series of titles: "The Vegetarian," "The White Book" and "Human Acts." "Kim Ji-young, Born 1982" by Cho Nam-joo is another translated piece that has become a bestseller since its release in 2020.

"With more domestic titles gaining recognition in the international literary scene, the number of translated pieces being published in Korea, as well as readers' demand for them, are increasing," the online bookstore said in a statement.

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