SOAS University of London

SOAS student translates celebrated Korean author’s latest book

15 January 2015
The Vegetarian

SOAS PhD student Deborah Smith, Department of Japan and Korea, has translated into English the latest novel by South Korean author Han Kang. The Vegetarian, published by Portobello Books, is ‘a novel about modern day South Korea, but also a novel about shame, desire and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.’

Deborah said: "Korean literature is still chronically under-represented in English, so it's fantastic to see my first published translation making a splash among UK readers. The book would never have come about without the language training I received at SOAS, and the contacts I've made as a student here; now it's kick-started a career that will enable me to go on using the skills I've gained here to make a cultural impact beyond academia."

Author and Deborah
The author Han Kang and translator Deborah Smith

Han Kang (44) is a celebrated author with a string of accolades including the Yi Sang Literary Prize, the Today's Young Artist Award, and the Korean Literature Novel Award.

On 22 January 2015, Deborah will be taking part in an event in London with the author Han Lang and Booker-shortlisted author Deborah Levy (Black Vodka, Swimming Home). To book your place, please visit the London Review Bookshop website.