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 the first of her books to be translated into English and has been 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:
This article was originally published in May 2011, and has been updated for the
April 2012 paperback release.
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