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South Korean Author Wins Man Booker International Prize

Winner of the 2016 Man Booker International prize for fiction Han Kang speaks to the media after winning the award for her book 'The Vegetarian' after the award ceremony in London, Tuesday, May, 16, 2016.

South Korean author Han Kang was awarded Britain's Man Booker International Prize for fiction Monday, for her novel The Vegetarian.

She is the first South Korean to win the award.

The Vegetarian, unanimously selected by a panel of five judges, tells the story of a woman who decides to give up eating meat and faces devastating consequences.

The work features a protagonist who doesn't want to belong to the human race anymore, Kang said.

The chairman of the judges, Boyd Tonkin, described the novel as "lyrical and lacerating" - a tale of "volcanic, visceral intensity".

Han Kang will split the $72,000 prize with her translator, Deborah Smith, who taught herself to read Korean just three years before.

The award is the international counterpart to Britain's Man Booker prize. Though previously a career honor, this year the award was changed to recognize a single book, translated into English and published in Britain.