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More Korean literary works captivate readers abroad
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More Korean literary works captivate readers abroad
  • By Korea.net
  • 승인 2022.01.22 23:45
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Novelist Cho Nam-joo's "Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982" has been translated into 10 languages.
Novelist Cho Nam-joo's "Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982" has been translated into 10 languages.

The novel "Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982" by Cho Nam-joo is the bestselling Korean literary work abroad over the past five years.

Literature Translation Institute of Korea on Jan. 18 released overseas sales data on 492 such works published in 30 languages out of 658 in 37 languages from 2016-2020 that were marketed with the institute's support.

More than 300,000 copies of "Kim Jiyoung" have been sold in 10 languages in regions like China, Vietnam and Spain. A steady bestseller in Japan, where it has sold more than 200,000 copies since debuting in 2018, the novel describes gender discrimination faced by the title's eponymous female protagonist.

Other Korean novels that saw high sales numbers overseas were "The Vegetarian" by Han Kang, "Almond" by Sohn Won-Pyung and "The Good Son" by Jeong Yu-jeong.

"The Vegetarian" has sold more than 160,000 copies in 13 languages. "Almond," which won the Japanese Booksellers' Awards for best translated novel, has seen sales of over 90,000 in Japan, and "The Good Son" has sold more than 20,000 copies in Brazil.

"Diary of a Murderer" by Kim Young-ha in Germany saw its fifth printing a year after its release and has sold more than 10,000 copies there.

These are among Korea's top 10 translated bestsellers abroad over the last five years.
These are among Korea's top 10 translated bestsellers abroad over the last five years.

Sixteen Korean literary works since their release abroad in 2020 have each sold more than 5,000 copies a year. By language, they were evenly spread among English, German, French, and Chinese.

Each language region differed in the popularity of a literary genre. Mysteries and thrillers were popular in France, while Germany preferred healing essays. Graphic novels, considered the middle ground between comics and novels, were well-received in English-speaking regions.

The translation institute said, "Korean literature has firmly established itself by proving its independent competitiveness in the global literary and publication markets," adding, "Now we can say Korean literature stands at the entrance of 'literary Hallyu.'"


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