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Korean book illustrator Lee Suzy wins Hans Christian Andersen Award

Korean book illustrator Lee Suzy wins Hans Christian Andersen Award

Posted March. 23, 2022 07:49,   

Updated March. 23, 2022 07:49


“I couldn’t have imagined about winning the prize as I did not have any expectations at all. I was watching the awarding ceremony online with my husband at home and when my name was called out, all I could repeat was ‘Really?” said Lee Suzy (age 48), who became the first Korean to win the prestigious Hans Christian Anderson Award, often known as the Nobel Prize of children’s literature.

The children’s book illustrator smiled as she recalled the ‘miracle’ that happened at midnight on the previous day. “Winning the award is like a dream come true for me. I am ever so thankful,” said Lee, whom your reporter met at her office located in Gwangjin-gu, Seoul.

Sixty-six candidates from 33 countries had been nominated for the illustrator award this year, which were trimmed down to six. “I thought Iwona Chmielewska would win, as she has a longer career than me and was nominated for the third time,” Lee said.

The Hans Anderson Award recognizes one writer and one illustrator every two years based on their overall contribution to children’s literature rather than a specific book. Lee said the screening process of International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY) was like the Olympic games.

Jeong-Eun Kim kimje@donga.com