Pak Kyongni Prize Committee announced the shortlist for 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize in July.
Antonio Muñoz Molina(Spain), Eduardo Mendoza(Spain), Ismail Kadare(Albania), Margaret Atwood(Canada), and Yan Lianke(China) are shortlisted for 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize.
Antonio Muñoz Molina is shortlisted with El Jinete Polaco(1987) and El Inierno en Lisboa(1991), Eduardo Mendoza is with La Ciudad De Los Prodigios(1986) and La Verdad Sobre El Caso Savolta(1975), Ismail Kadare is shortlisted with Gjenerali i ushtrisë së vdekur(1963), ‘Pallati i ëndrrave(1981), and Çështje të marrëzisë(2005), Margaret Atwood is shortlisted with The Blind Assassin(2000) and The Handmaid’s Tale(1985), and Yan Lianke is shortlisted with Summer Sunset(2010) and Serve the People!(2005).
Pak Kyongni Prize, the Korea’s first literature award for writers from around the world, was established in 2011 to commemorate literature spirits and achievements of the late Pak Kyongni(1926 – 2008).
This year’s prize evaluation committee consists of 1) Kim, Woo-chang(Emeritus Professor of Korea University), 2) Kwon, Gi-dae(translator), 3) Kim, Seong-gon(Emeritus Professor of Seoul National University), 4) Kim, Seung-ok(Emeritus Professor of Korea University), 5) Lee, Se-gi(novelist), and 6) Yoo, Seok-ho(Emeritus Professor of Yonsei University).
Kim, Woo-chang, chairperson of 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize Committee, talked about literature work of shortlisted candidates, “Writers talked about the political systems of the 20th century in great detail. They brought the tragic nature of the politics and the life of individuals struggling under political systems to life in their works.”
Antonio Muñoz Molina, one of representative writers of Spain, was shortlisted for “El Jinete Polaco(1987)” and ‘El Inierno en Lisboa(1991)’. Two works are fine pieces that intellectually weaved the story of people living in a gloomy modern era who feel lost and the story of Spain’s modern history that has been marked with civil war and dictatorship. Kim, Woo-chang praised the works of Antonio Muñoz Molina, saying that his works are masterpieces that show how individuals are ironically entangled into political events.
Eduardo Mendoza is a highly acclaimed Spanish writer who many say is a genius of marvelously weaving humors and ironies into a story, based on realism. His representative works include ‘La Verdad Sobre El Caso Savolta(1975)’ with which he made a debut and ‘La Ciudad De Los Prodigios(1986)’. ‘La Verdad Sobre El Caso Savolta’ dealt with the murder case of an arms manufacturer’s former executive director. This work delved deep into the historic background that forms mysteries, thus winning attention from the public. Kim, Woo-chang said that he is a writer who naturally depicts the story of humans struggling not only to have an upper hand over others but to make where they stand further favorable to them.
Ismail Kadare, an Albania-born writer, is shortlisted with
‘Gjenerali i ushtrisë së vdekur(1963)’, ‘Pallati i ëndrrave(1981)’, and ‘Çështje të marrëzisë(2005)’. He has mainly written allegorical works by giving variations to myths and legends about the reality facing Albania. Kim, Woo-chang explained ‘Gjenerali i ushtrisë së vdekur’ tells us that causes of a nation can not justify the violence.
Margaret Atwood, who has written several works critical of male-oriented society, is understood by many as the Canada’s first feminism writer. Her representative works include ‘The Handmaid’s Tale(1985)’ and ‘The Blind Assassin(2000)’ with which she is shortlisted for 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize. In 2017, she was on the final list of Nobel Prize in Literature. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ was, upon its release, on the bestseller list of The New York Times and Washington Post. It was produced in a TV drama series in 2017, which proves the book is definitely a classic that goes beyond and above the time.
Yan Lianke is said by critics to have established himself as a representative writer on narrating China’s irregularities. His major works include, inter alia, ‘Summer Sunset(2010)’, ‘Lenin’s Kisses(20036)’, and ‘Serve the People!(2005)’. His works have reached many readers and critics and have been favored by many. He received ten literary awards including Lu Xun Literary Prize twice and Lao She Literary Award. Kim, Woo-chang said Yan Lianke is a writer who shows in a remarkably symbolic way individuals’overwhelming desire that has been and/or is suppressed in the socifalism system.
The final award recipient will be announced on September 19. The 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize ceremony will be held in Toji Cultural Centre on October 26. This is when Wonju Pak Kyongni Literature Festival is held every year.
This article is translated from Korean to English, based on the original article excerpted from Dong-A Il-bo, one of Korea’s major daily newspapers. Dong-A Il-bo runs Pak Kyongni Prize-related articles every year.