Shortlisted for the 2022 International Booker Prize. Bora Chung presents a genre-defying collection of short stories, which blur the lines between magical realism, horror and science fiction. Translated by Anton Hur.

Korean author Bora Chung uses elements of the fantastic and surreal to address the very real horrors and cruelties of patriarchy and capitalism in modern society. Anton Hur’s translation skilfully captures the way Chung’s prose effortlessly glides from the terrifying to the wryly humorous. Winner of a PEN/Haim Grant.

The 2022 International Booker Prize
Published by
Honford Star
Publication date

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Bora Chung

Bora Chung

About the Author

Bora Chung was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2022. She was born in Seoul in 1976. She has written three novels and three collections of short stories.
More about Bora Chung
Anton Hur

Anton Hur

About the Translator

Anton Hur was born in Sweden in 1981 and raised in Hong Kong, Ethiopia and Thailand - but mostly in Korea, where he has lived for 30 years.
More about Anton Hur

Bora Chung on Cursed Bunny

‘It feels like a dream. But this is definitely the nicest dream I ever had. Especially to see my name right next to Ms. Olga Tokarczuk. I am a great fan of hers and this is such a great honour.’

Read the full interview here

Cursed Bunny as a collection contains stories that I wrote in different periods of my life, under various circumstances. ‘The Head’ was written for a school contest. And I wrote the title story, ‘Cursed Bunny,’ as a part of a New Year’s project for the web magazine Mirror. We were planning to write about the Asian zodiac but other writers took the more glamorous animals such as the dragon, the tiger, the horse, etc., and all I had left was the bunny or the sheep. I don’t know anything about sheep so I chose the bunny.’

Read the full interview here

Bora Chung and Anton Hur

Bora’s language is definitely what I enjoyed the most about Cursed Bunny. I loved handling it and seeing it come out in English. She is just so remarkably funny and sensitive and aware and empathetic. She gives equal weight to perfections and flaws. Every one thing has shades of the other.

— Anton Hur, translator of Cursed Bunny

What the judges said

‘While the stories in Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung blend elements of horror, fantasy and the surreal, each is viscerally rooted in the real fears and pressures of everyday life. Chung’s genre-defying collection is translated with verve and evident relish by Anton Hur, who shifts effortlessly from playful to harrowing.’

What the critics said

Ian Macallen, Chicago Review of Books

Cursed Bunny delivers strange and bizarre fables and, through these often grotesque fairy tales, articulates a clear critique of humanity. These are not childhood bedtime stories, but morality tales; sinners are punished. It is a collection that reminds us there are monsters everywhere, even in plain sight, even if we can’t see them.’

Noah Berlatsky, Los Angeles Times

‘South Korean novelist Bora Chung’s first translated work, the short story collection Cursed Bunny is an example of the new amalgamated norm. Drawing from Korean folk tale and Chung’s expertise as a Slavic literature professor, the narratives here shamble and ooze across a porous divide between highbrow absurdism and lowbrow jump scare. The balance changes from story to story, and sometimes the genre conventions feel too pat, as genre conventions will. But the more predictable moments set you up to miss a crucial step and fall right into the abyss when Chung gets weird.’

Kirkus Reviews

‘Whether borrowing from fable, folktale, speculative fiction, science fiction, or horror, Chung’s stories corkscrew toward devastating conclusions – bleak, yes, but also wise and honest about the nightmares of contemporary life. Don’t read this book while eating – but don’t skip these unflinching, intelligent stories, either.’

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen, The Saturday Paper

‘The scatological and profane swim together in Cursed Bunny. Originally published in 2017, this is South Korean author Bora Chung’s first work to be translated into English. Chung takes aim at capitalism, misogyny and the social obsessions with youth and beauty through these stories, which fluidly cross genres from science fiction to traditional fable structures.’

Eleni Karavoussianis, Book Reporter

‘Each story ended up devouring me with how bizarre and original they were. Bora Chung knows how to construct horror well, reaching deep under my skin and nesting in a place I can’t quite shake. If “weird” fiction or interpretative horror is up your alley, then I recommend giving Cursed Bunny a try.’

Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung

Other nominated books by Anton Hur

Love In The Big City