'Please Look After Mom' author faces plagiarism charges

'Please Look After Mom' author faces plagiarism charges
Shin Kyung-Sook, a South Korean writer, is the first woman to win the Man Asian Literary Prize.
PHOTO: LEE BYUNGRYUL

Shin Kyung-sook, the author of international best seller "Please Look After Mom," Wednesday denied an accusation that she committed plagiarism in an earlier work published nearly two decades ago.

The work in question is "Legend," included in a short story collection titled "Long Ago, When I Left My Home" published in 1996.

A passage in the short story that describes the physical intimacy of a newlywed couple bears striking similarities to a part in a Korean translation of "Yukoku (Patriotism)" by the late Japanese writer Mishima Yukio, published here in 1983.

Some of the expressions in Shin's work are identical to those of Yukio, which can't be explained as anything else but an act of plagiarism, claimed fellow Korean writer Lee Eung-joon, who raised the accusation.

In a Huffington Post article posted Tuesday, Lee insisted that Shin's alleged lifting is something that "the Korean literary circle has known as a fact for a long time."

Shin and her publisher Changbi denied the claim Wednesday.

"I don't know about the author and the mentioned work, except that I read his work 'The Temple of the Golden Pavilion' a long time ago," she said in a statement released through Changbi Publishers.

Shin is one of the most respected novelists in Korea, having penned many best-selling books, including "Where the Harmonium Once Stood" (1993) and "Deep Sorrow" (1994).

Her first English-translated book "Please Look After Mom" was an international best seller, receiving a number of international awards including the Man Asian Literary Prize from the UK She was the first South Korean and woman to win the honour. Her second English-translated book "I'll Be Right There" was published in the US in June last year.

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