Chung Bora appreciates larger-than-expected acclaim for ‘Cursed Bunny’

SEOUL-- Chung Bora, author of "Cursed Bunny," shortlisted for this year's International Booker Prize, on Thursday expressed her gratitude for the larger-than-expected love and critical acclaim her writing has garnered.

"When writing the novel, I had no idea how it would turn out. I didn't have any great intention," Chung said in a press conference held in Seoul. "I've never received this kind of attention."

An English translation of her novel published by Honford Star of Britain was chosen as one of the six finalists for this year's International Booker Prize, one of the three largest literary awards in the world, earlier this month.

She became the second Korean author to make the shortlist after Han Kang, who achieved the feat in 2016 and 2018 with "The Vegetarian" and "The White Book," respectively.

Following the nomination, the book's publishing rights have been sold to 15 countries including the United States, Japan and Germany.

Published in Korea in 2017, "Cursed Bunny" is a collection of 10 science-fiction short stories on curses and revenge.

Jurors of the International Booker Prize said Chung's novel is a mixture of fantastical and surreal elements to "address the very real horrors and cruelties of patriarchy and capitalism in modern society."

"I wanted to change a cute little bunny to a scary one," she said. "I try to create a story as unreal as possible because someone can be hurt by my writing. I want to twist the realistic situations in an opposite way."

The author, who earned a master's degree in Russian and East European studies from Yale University, said her literary inclination toward sci-fi and horror fantasy novels was affected by the Russian and East European literature from the early 1920s.

She said she is now working on a story about seafood based on her daily life in a coastal town in southeastern Korea. Still, she wants to tell stories about pain and loss of minors suffering from international or regional military disputes.

"I heard there are 26 regions in conflicts across the world," she said. "I know there is so much pain and loss in the world, but I can't write them in my story now. It will take time for me to seek ways to respect the victims."

Anton Hur, who translated "Cursed Bunny" into English, said he was fascinated by Chung's book for its creative mixture of horror and humor. He also translated Park Sang-young's "Love in the Big City," which was longlisted for the prize but missed the shortlist.

"Chung's sentences contain beautifully fearful and humorous sentiments," he said during the press conference. "It's easier to translate the combination of extreme sentiments."

He will continue to work with Chung to translate her two publications, including her novel "Red Sword" (2019) that which will be published in Britain next year.

Source: Yonhap News Agency