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Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2016 is Announced

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2016 is Announced

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

South Korean author Han Kang and her translator Deborah Smith, who only began learning Korean seven years ago, have beaten writers including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk and international bestseller Elena Ferrante to the Man Booker International prize.

Han, who will share the £50,000 award equally with Smith, took the award for The Vegetarian, a three-part novel described as “concise, unsettling and beautifully composed” and an “uncanny blend of beauty and horror” by judges. It tells of “a completely ordinary wife” who decides to become a vegetarian as she seeks a more “plant-like” existence. The controversial decision provokes cruelty from her husband and from her father, and obsession from her sister’s husband, as the woman, Yeong-hye, dreams obsessively about becoming a tree.

“It’s almost an outlandish story - a story that could topple over into crude horror or melodrama, or just over-emphatic allegories, but it has extraordinary poise and tact and control,” said chair of judges Boyd Tonkin. “And that’s done both by Han Kang and by this amazing translation from Deborah Smith … The point about this prize is that it’s totally equal between the author and the translator, and we feel this strange and brilliant book has absolutely found the right voice in English.”

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