Kyung-sook Shin biography, plus links to book reviews and book excerpts from books by Kyung-sook Shin.

Author Biography  |  Books by this Author  |  Readalikes

Kyung-sook Shin
Photo: Lee Byungryul

Kyung-sook Shin

Kyung-sook Shin: SHINN-kyung-SOOK (like "suc" in "sucrose")

Kyung-sook Shin Biography

International bestselling author Kyung-sook Shin has garnered unprecedented levels of success for her novel, Please Look After Mom. Originally published in South Korea in 2008 and having sold over a million and a half copies, it is now the first of her books to be translated into English and is scheduled to be published in nineteen countries worldwide.

Born in 1963 in Jeolla Province in South Korea to a large family, Shin left home at age 16 to pursue an education in Seoul, as her parents were subsistence farmers and did not have the financial means to send her to high school. She attended the Seoul Institute of the Arts as a creative writing major, taking classes at night and working during the day, and in 1985 she published her first novella entitled Winter's Fable, which earned her the Munye Joongang Literary Newcomer's Prize.

However, Shin's work didn't receive public attention until 1993 when she published a short-story collection entitled Where the Harmonium Once Stood. It is considered a landmark book and a turning point in Korean literary style; before its publication, Korean literature was heavily charged with political themes, whereas Shin's book explored the depths of humanity.

According to Korean Modern Literature in Translation, "Her writing is characterized by a profound and unique point of view focusing on the human mind, featuring colorful prose utilizing symbolism and metaphor that captures the minute details of life's subtle trials and tribulations. Shin is also known for her expressive and heartfelt narrative style."

The following is a list of some of the awards Shin's books have won:

  • 1985 The Munye Joongang Literary Newcomer's Prize for Winter's Fable
  • 1993 The Hankuk Ilbo Literary Award for Where the Harmonium Once Stood
  • 1995 Hyundae Literary Award for Whenever I Take A Deep Breath
  • 1996 Manhae Literary Prize for A Lone Room
  • 1997 Dong-in Literary Award for When Will He Come
  • 2000 21st Century Literary Prize for The Place Where He Doesn't Know
  • 2001 Yi Sang Literary Prize for Buseok Temple
  • 2006 Oh Young-soo Literary Prize for Linden Tree in Front of the Castle Gate
  • 2009 Prix de l'Inaperçu for A Lone Room

Author of over a dozen works of both fiction and non-fiction, Shin's books are widely read and considered staples of Korean literature. She is currently a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York City.

This biography was last updated on 04/27/2011.

A note about the biographies
We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate. However, with over 2500 lives to keep track of it's inevitable that some won't be as current or as complete as we would like. So, please help us - if the information about a particular author is out of date, inaccurate or simply very short, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and those connected with authors: If you wish to make changes to your bio, please send your complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Kyung-sook Shin at BookBrowse

Recommended in Detail at BookBrowse

Please Look After Mom
Please Look After Mom

by Kyung-sook Shin

An international sensation and a bestseller that has sold over 1.5 million copies in the author's native Korea, Please Look After Mom is a stunning, deeply moving story of a family's search for their missing mother - and their discovery of the desires, heartaches and secrets they never realized she harbored within.
Read More

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Kyung-sook Shin but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Catherine Chung

    Catherine Chung

    Catherine Chung was born in Evanston, IL during a furious blizzard that dropped over 20 inches of snow on the ground and wreaked havoc all over Chicago. Writing has been her life-long passion, but as an undergraduate she ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Please Look After Mom

    Try:
    Forgotten Country
    by Catherine Chung

  • Ha Jin

    Ha Jin

    Xuefei Jin, who writes under the pseudonym Ha Jin, was born in 1956 in Liaoning Province in northern China. His father was a military officer. In 1969, at only 14 years of age, Ha Jin joined the People's Liberation Army ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Please Look After Mom

    Try:
    Waiting
    by Ha Jin

We recommend 5 similar authors

View all 5 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Take This Man
    Take This Man
    by Brando Skyhorse
    "A chorus of six men calling me Son might sound ludicrous to you, but to me it's the sound of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  133Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.