The Korea Herald


Han Kang's 'I Do Not Bid Farewell' clinches second French award

By Park Ga-young

Published : March 1, 2024 - 16:57

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Han Kang's Han Kang's "I Do Not Bid Farewell" is chosen as the winner of the 7th edition of the Emile Guimet Prize for Asian Literature in France on Thursday. (Yonhap)

Korean writer Han Kang's latest novel "I Do Not Bid Farewell" has won a French literary award, the Literature Translation Institute of Korea said Friday.

The novel took home the Emile Guimet Prize for Asian Literature for her "restrained expression and the universality of its themes,” the award's organizer said Friday (French time).

The French was translated by Choi Kyung-ran and Pierre Bisiou into French, with support by LTIK and published in 2023. Its English edition, titled "We do not Part," is set to be published this year.

This is the second time that Korean literary work won the Emile Guimet Prize for Asian Literature after the 2018 award to "Dusk at Daybreak," a work by Hwang Sok-yong, translated by Choi Mi-kyung and Jean Noel Juttet.

The Emile Guimet Prize for Asian Literature is awarded by the Guimet Museum (National Museum of Asian Arts) in Paris, France. Established in 2017 to promote Asian literature in France, it is awarded annually to a contemporary Asian literary work translated and published in French during the previous year.

The French edition of "I Do Not Bid Farewell" has now secured its second French literature award, following its earlier achievement of the prestigious Prix Medicis, one of France's four major literary accolades for foreign literature, in November. The author was unable to attend the award ceremony due to scheduling conflicts.

"The novel is about people who are determined not to bid farewell. They light candles under the sea in the depths of the night," she said in her acceptance message delivered through her publisher.

"I hope they never stop believing in the flickering light like them."

Inaugurated in 2017, the annual award is given to works of literature written in Asian languages by the Guimet National Museum of Asian Arts.

"I Do Not Bid Farewell," published in September 2021, depicts the tragedy of a 1948 civilian massacre on South Korea's southern island of Jeju from the perspective of three women.