Interview: 2016 Man Booker International Prize Winner Han Kang
- onMay 19, 2016
- byLTI Korea
What is life? What is death? Who am I? Writing means embracing these ever resilient questions as you move forward.
Hello, I’m Han Kang and I write novels. It’s always a very special and amazing experience to meet my readers. Translation is such a singular process where a book is completely reborn, and I am so grateful to be able to meet you through this demanding and interesting process.
Q. How did you become a writer?
I was always reading as a child. We moved a lot, so I changed schools a lot, and I remember reading by myself until I made new friends. So I was reading for pure pleasure as a child, and then I revisited those books when I was a teenager. I was asking all of those typically adolescent questions, what does it mean to be human, why do people die, what is life, who am I, and when I reread those books I was surprised to not find the answers—there were only questions, not answers. And I felt that the authors, the writers were as vulnerable and clueless as I was, asking and recording the same questions that I had. So I felt a sense of kinship with them, although of course I was only a very young and insignificant being, and I thought that if writing is about asking questions, and not necessarily finding answers, I could write that way too.
Q. Could you introduce yourself briefly?
I studied Korean literature in university. After I graduated I worked for about three years in publishing and magazines. I made books, I interviewed people and wrote articles, I went on trips on assignment. After I started writing myself, there have been times when I’ve been writing full time and when I teach on the side; and so the time goes.
Q. When do you feel fulfilled as a writer?