Picador bags Hye-jin’s Korean bestseller

Picador bags Hye-jin’s Korean bestseller

Picador has triumphed in a multi-publisher auction for Kim Hye-jin’s Korean bestseller Concerning My Daughter.

Commissioning editor Ansa Khan Khattak acquired world English language rights from agent Marina Penalva Hapin at Casanovas & Lynch Literary Agency. It will be published in April 2022.

Concerning My Daughter tells the story of a mother and widow, who begrudgingly allows her thirty-something daughter to move in with her. When her daughter arrives with her girlfriend, their relationship is one that her mother cannot accept. 

The synopsis says: “Told in a brutally honest voice that at times simmers with impotent rage, Kim Hye-jin's novel taps into the complexities of mother-daughter dynamics, but also the systemic issues and obstacles that LGBTQ communities face in heteronormative societies. Kim Hye-jin lays bare our most universal fears on ageing, death, and isolation, to offer finally a paean to love in all its forms.”

Hye-jin’s short story “Chicken Run” won Dong-A Ilbo’s Spring Literary Award in 2012, and Central Station won the Joong-Ang Literary Award for a novel. She was featured in the Words Without Borders 2019 issue on New Korean Queer Writing, and her short story collection UH-BEE was published by Minumsa in 2016.

The author said: “As someone who writes novels, I’ve never had a clear division between the inner and outer life of my stories; and in that regard, maybe this novel can be seen as me in my 30s trying to understand my mother’s generation in their 60s, whom I could never quite make sense of. I wonder what readers in the UK would think of this novel. I’m very happy and excited to find out.”

Khattak added: “Concerning My Daughter is a brilliant, emotional, brief shock of a novel. Kim Hye-jin combines so effectively a fascinating insight into contemporary Korean society and the conservative mores which still exist, and a profoundly moving story about a woman trying – and ultimately failing – to manage the tension between her own beliefs and her relationship with her daughter, whom she refuses to accept as queer. I’m so glad that Picador will be publishing Hye-jin’s work here in the UK.”