South Korean novelist Kyung-sook Shin made history today as the first woman to be awarded Asia’s most prestigious literary award, for her excellent novel Please Look After Mom. The Man Asian Literary Prize is awarded to “the best novel by an Asian writer, either written in English or translated into English” in each year — Kyung-sook Shin was awarded $30,000 and her translator, Chi-Young Kim, received $5,000.
Not only is Shin the first woman to win the prize in its short five-year history, she’s the first South Korean writer to even make the shortlist. Please Look After Mom, a complex portrait of a family in South Korea and the meaning of motherhood rendered in Shin’s elegant prose, is the first book she has had translated into English. We hope more of her work will follow, if only for our own sakes!