A Contemporary Korean Reading List

by  Han Kang

Han Kang recommends these 13 contemporary Korean books available in English.

Hwang Jeong-EunHwang Jeong-Eun

One Hundred Shadows

Trans. Jung Yewon
Tilted Axis, Sept. 2016


The GuestHwang Sok-yong

The Guest 

Trans. Kyung-Ja Chun & Maya West
Seven Stories, 2005


No One Writes BackJang Eun-jin

No One Writes Back

Trans. Jung Yewon
Dalkey Archive, 2013


Sorrowtoothpaste MirrorcreamKim Hyesoon

Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream

Trans. Don Mee Choi
Action Books, 2014         


Mommy Must Be a Fountain of FeathersKim Hyesoon

Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers 

Don Mee Choi
Action Books, 2008


The Girl Whoe Wrote LonelinessKyung-Sook Shin

The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness

Trans. Ha-yun Jung
Pegasus, 2015


At Least We Can ApologizeLee Ki-ho

At Least We Can Apologize

Trans. Christopher Joseph Dykes
Dalkey Archive, 2013


The Private Life of PlantsLee Seung-u

The Private Life of Plants

Trans. Inrae You & Louis Vinciguerra
Dalkey Archive, 2015


The IslandLim Chul-woo 

The Island

Trans. Inrae You & Louis Vinciguerra
Stallion, 2010


The Dog ThiefLim Chul-woo 

The Dog Thief

Trans. Myung-Hee Kim
Tamal Vista, 2005


Suah BaeSuah Bae 

A Greater Music 

Trans. Deborah Smith
Open Letter, Nov. 2016


RecitationSuah Bae 


Trans. Deborah Smith
Deep Vellum, Jan. 2017


Your Republic is Calling YouYoung-ha Kim

Your Republic Is Calling You

Trans. Chi-Young Kim
Mariner Books, 2010


Born in South Korea in 1970, Han Kang made her literary debut as a poet in 1993. She has since published novels and short fiction and won the Yi Sang Literary Prize, the Today’s Young Artist Award, and the Manhae Literary Prize. She currently works as a professor in the Department of Creative Writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts. The Vegetarian, Deborah Smith’s English translation of one of Han Kang’s five novels, has been shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize.