Congratulations to author Bora Chung, translator Anton Hur and publisher Honford Star for Cursed Bunny’s inclusion in the International Booker Prize shortlist. Anton Hur had the distinction of having two of his translations longlisted, the other one being Sang Young Park’s Love in the Big City. It was also nice to see one title from Tilted Axis Press on the shortlist and two in the longlist (including Love in the Big City). Tilted Axis was founded by Deborah Smith, who won the international Booker in 2016 with Han Kang’s The Vegetarian.
As I’ve noted elsewhere, 2021 was a really strong year for Korean literature in translation, and another title from Honford Star – Bae Myung-hoon’s Tower – could easily have made the longlist in my view, as could another sci-fi collection, Kim Bo-young’s On the Origin of Species. Choi Eun-young’s Shoko’s Smile was also rather special. But Cursed Bunny is a worthy title to fly the flag for Korean literature, and we’ll hear on 26 May whether it is successful.
Either way, you can meet Anton Hur in Norwich this summer: he will be leading the Multilingual Prose workshop at this year’s International Literary Translation Summer School at the University of East Anglia (18-22 July). This strand is open to literary translators from any language, into English. Let’s hope the KCC or someone else grabs him on his way through London to give a talk.
It’s through Anton Hur’s Twitter feed that we learn that Bora Chung was on a pro-Ukraine anti-war march when the news came through of her shortlisting. And an unusual quote almost made it on to the news feeds.
Anton is interviewed in the Korea Times, along with Disaster Tourist translator Lizzie Buehler, here. Separately, there’s a nice feature on the rising popularity of Korean literature in translation in the Indian news website Mint.