South Korean author Han Kang (top right) won the Man Booker International Prize for her fiction The Vegetarian, reports said. Kang was chosen from 155 authors, including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk and international bestseller Elena Ferrante, for the prize. Her work is woven around the consequences of a woman’s decision to stop eating meat, a rare thing in South Korea. Kang is the first South Korean to win the award.

According to the 45-year-old author, she tried to explore “human violence, and also [ask] a question about human dignity” through her fiction. This is the first book of hers that has been translated into English. The prize money will be split evenly between Kang and her translator, Deborah Smith (top left).

The Vegetarian, published by Portobello Books, was selected unanimously by a panel of five judges headed by noted editor and critic Boyd Tonkin. Tonkin described Kang’s work as “lyrical and lacerating”, PTI reported.

The award, which is the international counterpart to Britain’s Booker Prize, considers literary works translated to English from any language. The prize is named after financial services firm Man Group PLC which sponsors it.