Running for the Finest Fiction Around the World: Anton Hur & Bora Chung’s “Cursed Bunny”News

It is Thursday, and time for our regular segment “Arts and Culture” to deliver the latest trends and information in the arts and culture sector.
As always, our Kim Bo-kyoung is here with us in the studio.
Bo-kyoung, I believe you have a report on a book to share with us today.
What’s so special about it?

Well, Mok-yeon,
The book is called “Cursed Bunny.”
And recently its author, South Korean novelist Bora Chung, was shortlisted for the prestigious 2022 International Booker Prize which rewards the finest in fiction that has been translated into English.
For those who are not familiar with the award, it is one of the three largest literary awards in the world, and has become familiar to South Koreans after author Han Kang won in 2016 with her novel “Vegetarian.”
Han Kang was also shortlisted for the award again in 2018 for “The White Book.”
Thus, it is the third time a South Korean author has been shortlisted for the prize, and before the final result comes out which is scheduled for May 26th, Chung held a press conference with translator Anthon Hur.
I was there, and let me share more about Chung and her book “Cursed Bunny.”

The finest fiction book in the world.
That prestigious title and a 65-thousand US dollar prize is what the winner of the renowned International Booker Prize will get.
From 13 books that made it into the longlist, six titles have now become the finalists.

“Among six finalists is Bora Chung’s “Cursed Bunny”, a collection of ten short horror stories. The Booker Prize said it uses fantasy and surrealism to address the very real horrors and cruelties of patriarchy and capitalism in modern society.”

Why did Chung choose a rabbit of all animals to make into a horror story?
Well, she had to pick one from the twelve zodiac signs in 2015 when writing a special series of stories with other authors, each picking different animals.
All the other strong and more familiar animals were already taken by other authors, and she was left with either a sheep or a rabbit.

“I knew nothing about sheep and so decided to pick the rabbit. Bunnies are the weakest among the animals, without having any weapon-like features on their bodies. They’re soft, pretty and cute, so I wanted to make it more horrifying .”

Anton Hur, a Swedish-Korean translator skillfully captured Chung’s prose and allowed readers around the globe to get to know her style.
He said that Chung’s imagination is one of the best but also that her prose is something to behold, in that it fuses horror and humor together.

“After just reading a sentence, I thought the literacy was remarkable, its prose was outstanding. When Chung was among the jury at a science fiction literature contest, she once talked about how lots of books only focused on the science part, not the fiction She herself pays more attention to prose and with originality.

Hur also said that he is surprised the book has only recently begun to receive the attention it deserves.
Regarding her own original prose and imagination, Chung says she was influenced by the free and fantastical features of Slavic literature.

“Among Slavic literature,. I studied many Soviet novels that were from the 1920s and 30s.
From a time right after the revolution when all artistic experiments were encouraged and supported. The arts were free, and I loved such artistic attempts, silly imagination and creativity”

Both translator and author agree that although South Korea boasts its own literary value in a variety of genres, they have not been recognized accordingly.
Apart from winning the prize, they hope “Cursed Bunny’s” global recognition can steer attention toward other South Korean literature genres.

#BoraChung #CursedBunny #BookerPrize


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