Booker triumph ushers in new era for South Korean writers

Han KangSouth Korean writer Han Kang’s Booker Prize marks a major victory for a decade-long effort to drag one of Asia’s oldest but, until recently, least-known literary traditions into the global market.

Literary merits aside, the success of Han’s novel “The Vegetarian” was aided by a number of factors that have coincided with South Korea’s emergence as an increasingly prominent player on the global cultural stage.

An institute dedicated to translating new works, a fresh breed of writers with a more international outlook and a new generation of talented, dedicated translators have all played their part — and, publishing insiders say, will all share in Han’s triumph.

“It’s going to have an enormous impact,” Seoul-based independent literary agent Joseph Lee said.

“For the writers, it will provide motivation and confidence that our literature has potential in the overseas market.

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