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Man Asian Literary Prize 2011 … Win For First Woman


Today, 15th March 2012, in Hong Kong, Kyung-sook Shin, has changed the face of  Asian literature, by becoming the first woman to win the much coveted Man Asian Literary Prize.

She beat off an unprecedented shortlist of seven, to win the prestigious title and the accompanying prize money of US$ 30,000, with the translator of the novel, ‘Please Look After Mother’, Chi-young Kim being awarded US$ 5,000.




A million-plus-copy best seller in South Korea and poised to become an international sensation—Please Look After Mom is the stunning, deeply moving story of a family’s search for their mother, and of the desires, heartaches, and secrets they discover she harbored within.

On a family visit to the city, Mom is right behind her husband when the train pulls out of Seoul Station without her, and she is lost, possibly forever. As her children argue over how to find her and her husband returns to their countryside home to wait for her, they each recall their lives with her, their memories often more surprising than comforting. Have they lived up to her expectations? Was she happy? Through the piercing voices of daughter, son, and husband, and through Mom’s own words in the novel’s shattering conclusion, we learn what happened that day, and explore an even deeper mystery—of motherhood itself.

At once steeped in the beauty and complexities of the East and rich with a universal tenderness, Please Look After Mom has a revelatory emotional power. You will never think of your mother the same way again after you’ve read this book.



The Man Asian Literary Prize was founded in 2007. It is an annual literary award given to the best novel by an Asian writer, either written in English or translated into English, and published in the previous calendar year.

Submissions are invited through publishers based in any country, with the winning author receiving US$ 30,000 and any translator US$ 5,000



Kyung-sook Shin, was born in 1963, in a small farming village in Southern Korea. She moved at a young age to Seoul, to live with her older brother. It was here that she attended night school, whilst working during the day to support herself.

She is the author of numerous works of fiction and is one of South Korea’s most widely read and acclaimed novelists. She has been awarded many literary prizes, although ‘Please Look After Mom (Mother)’, is her frst book to be translated into English.

Currently a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York City, she lives in Seoul.

The book is published by Random House and there is a very in depth and comprehensive QandA session with the author, here.



Some not so small part in this exciting first, was played by the excellent translation skills of one – Chi-young Kim.

Chi-Young is a professional literary translator based in Los Angeles and is the daughter of veteran translator Yu Young-nan.

A graduate of Wesleyan University, she worked at a publishing company in New York before heading out west.

Chi-Young is the recipient of  several awards in her own right, including … The Daesan Foundation Translation Grant in 2005 and 2008, and the Modern Korean Literature Translation Award in 2003.


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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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Written by Yvonne