Deborah Smith and Han Kang on hearing the winners' announcement
The Man Booker International Prize fell in line with its Man Booker Prize sibling and became an annual award for a single book. Han Kang and her translator Deborah Smith scooped the first honours.
With the £50,000 prize money now being split equally, the modest pair had cause for celebration when The Vegetarian, the story of a woman whose decision to give up eating meat has unexpected consequences, beat a strong shortlist that included Elena Ferrante and Orhan Pamuk. Han, who is Korean, and Smith, who is British (and learnt Korean because she saw few of its books in English) treated the translation as an imaginative rather than literal word-for-word exercise. A second collaboration, The White Book, also made the prize shortlist in 2018.