Browsing through the Asia House programme for the upcoming couple of months I saw this encouraging double-page teaser.
After the appearance of Changrae Lee at the Asia House Festival of Asian Literature in 2010, they dropped Korea from their 2011 schedule. So at the end of 2011 I wrote to them to suggest a couple of names to represent Korea at their 2012 festival. They totally ignored me, meaning that they missed out on all the buzz surrounding Korean literature last year – particularly the Man Asian Literary Prize which went to Kyung-sook Shin’s Please Look After Mother.
Undaunted, I drafted a letter to them last month, which I didn’t get around to sending them because I couldn’t be sure who to send it to. And then their programme for February and March 2013 landed on my doormat. Thankfully I see that one of the names whom I was going to recommend is in fact on their panel of speakers for the 2013 festival: Krys Lee, who won LKL’s book of the year last year for Drifting House.
We look forward to seeing her in London again for another visit to our favourite English live music noraebang in Marylebone Lane, where we went with Jason of @_dOKumENtARy when she was in London last year.
Why create another award?
Because The Story Prize’s aim is to support fiction and encourage authors who write it. The finalists and eventual winner, we believe, bring added attention to the form. But we read more than 90 books each year, and more than the three we choose as finalists are worthy of attention. So we decided to add another award to cast a wider net. The winner of the Story Prize Spotlight Award might be the work of an emerging author, an established but overlooked author, or an innovator in the short story form.
Who is the winner this year?
The first winner of The Story Prize Spotlight Award is Krys Lee, author of the story collection Drifting House, published by Viking.
Why this book?
Because this is a powerful and moving debut collection. The nine stories in Drifting House are set in the U.S., South Korea, North Korea, and often—from the characters’ perspectives—the indistinct spaces between these places. We felt this book merited more attention and a wider readership.
Congratulations on the award.