2017 Korean Literature Nights

by Events Editor on 11 February, 2017

in Event Notices, KCCUK, Korean literature in translation

The KCC’s first Korean Literature Night of 2017 features another of Hwang Sun-mi’s short novels. And this year, the nights don’t clash with the film screenings.

2017 Korean Literature Nights

The Korean Literature Night (KLN) is a monthly discussion group, held on the last Wednesday evening of the month (apart from the first meeting), that explores various themes and topics relating to that month’s chosen book.

Entrance Free – Booking Essential. Apply to info@kccuk.org.uk or call 020 7004 2600 with your name and contact details. The booking system utilises a lottery based programme that picks names at random, once the final selection has been drawn we will send you an e-mail regarding the result of the selection. You can pick up a copy of the book from the KCCUK, once you have received your confirmation e-mail.

Available Seats: 15

28 Feb

Hwang Sun-mi: The Dog Who Dared To Dream

About the Book

The dog who dared to dreamThis is the story of a dog named Scraggly. Born an outsider because of her distinctive appearance, she spends most of her days in the sun-filled yard of her owner’s house. Scraggly has dreams and aspirations just like the rest of us. But each winter, dark clouds descend and Scraggly is faced with challenges that she must overcome. Through the clouds and even beyond the gates of her owner’s yard lies the possibility of friendship, motherhood and happiness – they are for the taking if Scraggly can just hold on to them, bring them home and build the life she so desperately desires.

About the Author

Sun-mi Hwang is a beloved writer in South Korea, where she has won many awards and published more than forty books. The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly became an instant classic, and remained on the Korean bestseller list for ten years.

Reviews:

29 Mar

Song Sokze: The Amusing Life

About the Book

Amusing lifeThis is a collection of over forty stories, sketches, vignettes, and fables that search out the comical, even the absurd, aspects of everyday life. Along the way, work, art, nation, love, and family are examined and made new and strange. Two rival countries race to raise the tallest flag. A poet receives a grant letter that’s made to self-destruct. A world confederation of liars welcomes new members. Always instructive but never didactic, Song’s stories are characterized by a lightness of touch that allows laughter to accompany even the darkest truths in this collection

About the Author

Song Sokze was born in 1960 and studied law at University. His made his debut with the poem “A Man Wiping the Window” in Literature and Thought in 1986, he began writing fiction in 1994 with his collection of short stories, Where Bewilderment Lives. He received the Ch’ae Man-sik Literary Award in 2015 for his novel, The Invisible Man.

Reviews:

26 Apr

“Heo Kyun”: The Story of Hong Gildong

About the Book

The Story of Hong GildongHong Gildong, an illegitimate son of a noblemen and his lowborn concubine, is the main character of the story. Gifted with supreme intelligence and supernatural abilities, he steals from rich and corrupt aristocrats, which has drawn him comparisons to famous bandits like the English folk hero Robin Hood and Australia’s Ned Kelly. Historical sources point to the existence of a bandit named Hong Gildong who was arrested in 1500, however the character’s historical inspiration was the early 16th century Korean bandit and folk hero Im Kkeokjeong.

About the Author

The traditional but disputed author, Heo Kyun, was born in the city of Gangneung to Heo Yeop and his second wife (known only by her surname Kim 김). Heo’s family was of the noble (yangban) class (his father had been mayor of Gangneung) and as such Heo Kyun was afforded a solid education and in 1594 passed the nation’s highest civil service exam. Under the strong influence of his tutor, Yi Dal 李達, Heo Kyun became a progressive and liberal thinker who dreamed of establishing a more progressive society by eliminating all bigoted and conservative elements in the social, literary, and political realms. Heo went on to serve the government of Joseon in such positions as Minister of the Board of Punishment and State Councillor. In the course of his political career he was exiled several times for involvement in political feuds and was ultimately executed on charges of treason during the reign of Prince Gwanghae.

Reviews:

31 May

Han Kang: Human Acts

About the Book

Han Kang Human ActsGwangju, South Korea, 1980. In the wake of a viciously suppressed student uprising, a boy searches for his friend’s corpse, a consciousness searches for its abandoned body, and a brutalised country searches for a voice. In a sequence of interconnected chapters the victims and the bereaved encounter censorship, denial, forgiveness and the echoing agony of the original trauma. Human Acts is a universal book, utterly modern and profoundly timeless. Already a controversial bestseller and award-winning book in Korea, it confirms Han Kang as a writer of immense importance.

About the Author

Han Kang was born in Gwangju, South Korea and moved to Seoul at the age of ten. She studied Korean literature at Yonsei University. Her novels have won the Yi Sang Literary Prize, the Today’s Young Artist Awards, and the Korean Literature Novel Award. Her critically acclaimed novel The Vegetarian is published by Portobello books and won the 2016 International Man Booker Prize. She currently teaches creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.

Reviews:

28 Jun

Kim Hyesoon: I’m OK, I’m Pig!

About the Book

Kim Hyesoon I'm OK I'm Pig!The full-length English language edition of one of the foremost poets in Modern Korean poetry. In her experimental work she explores women’s multiple and simultaneous existence as grandmothers, mothers, and daughters in the context of Korean society. According to Kim, ‘women poets oppose and resist their conditions, using unconventional forms of language because their resistance has led them to a language that is unreal, surreal, and even fantastical. The language of women’s poetry is internal, yet defiant and revolutionary’.

About the Author

Kim Hyesoon lives in Seoul and teaches creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts. Kim began publishing in 1979 and was one of the first few women to be published in a literary journal, Munhak kwa jisŏng (Literature and Intellect). This journal and Ch’angjak kwa pip’yŏng (Creation and Criticism) were the two leaders of the intellectual and literary movement against the US-backed military dictatorships of Park Chung Hee and Chun Doo Hwan in the 1970s and 1980s.

Kim began to receive critical recognition from the late 1990s. She believes that the recognition of her work was due to the strong emergence of women’s poetry over the past few decades. Kim has won numerous literary prizes and was the first woman to receive the coveted Midang (2006) and Kim Su-yŏng (1998) awards named after two major contemporary poets. Midang was a poet who stood for ‘pure poetry’ (sunsusi) while Kim Su-yŏng”s poetry is closely associated with ‘engaged poetry’ (ch’amyŏsi) that displays historical consciousness.

In 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad for the London 2012 Olympic Games Hyesoon Kim joined the largest gathering of international poets in world history (140) to take part in the Poetry Parnassus at Southbank Centre.

Jul – Nov Possible titles for discussion include:

Bae Suah — Recitation
Hwang Jungeun — One Hundred Shadows
Lee Seung-u — The Private Lives of Plants
Pyun Hye-Young — Evening Proposal

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