Books

Deborah Smith’s latest Bae Suah translation, Recitation, is now available in bookshops. This month you have the opportunity to hear some of the challenges of translating it, courtesy of SOAS’s Centre for Translation Studies: Close to a State of Linguistic Weightlessness: On Translating Bae Suah Dr Deborah Smith (Korean-English translator, Publisher/Editor at Tilted Axis Press) […]

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The KCC’s first literature night of 2017 is The dog who dared to dream

by Philip Gowman 11 February 2017
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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. The Dog Who Dared To dream Hwang Sun-mi Tuesday 28 February 2017, 18.30-20.30 @KCCUK The Korean Literature Night (KLN) is a monthly discussion group that explores various themes and […]

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New and upcoming non-fiction titles for 2017

by Philip Gowman 30 January 2017
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As a follow up to my post on literature and fiction titles coming up in 2017 (now updated twice), here are some of the upcoming non-fiction publications that I’ll be looking out for. There are of course many others: simply do an advanced search on Amazon with keyword “Korea” and publication year 2017 and you may […]

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New and upcoming literature and fiction titles [updated]

by Philip Gowman 16 January 2017
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As I’ve been looking back at the books of 2016 I realise that there are a few recent publications I missed. Here are some of them, along with some that are advertised to be out this year. I do wish there was a decent source to tell you what’s new or coming up soon. Publishers’ […]

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Book review: Hwang Jungeun — One Hundred Shadows

by Philip Gowman 4 January 2017
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Hwang Jungeun: One Hundred Shadows Translated by Jung Yewon Tilted Axis Press, 2016, 147pp Original published as 百의 그림자, Minumsa, 2010 The 2009 Yongsan apartment building disaster barely registered in the news media outside of Korea. But in its way it registered domestically much as the Sewol disaster did, acting as a rallying point against an […]

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A look back at some of the books of 2016

by Philip Gowman 30 December 2016
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To cut to the chase, here are my two books of the year for 2016. For more detail, read on. Literature in translation The world of translated fiction seems to have been dominated by two names this year, one Korean and one British. The Korean name of course is Han Kang. Just as The Vegetarian […]

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Book review: Without You, There Is No Us

by Philip Gowman 15 December 2016
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Suki Kim: Without You, There Is No Us. Rider / Penguin Random House, 2015, 291pp I always come to books about the DPRK with a certain amount of reluctance, because there are far too many of them and I wonder what each successive book will have to say that is new. I approached this one […]

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Book review: Park Wan-suh — Lonesome You

by Philip Gowman 21 November 2016
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Park Wan-suh: Lonesome You Translated by Elizabeth Haejin Yoon Dalkey Archive, 2015, 252pp Originally published as 너무도 쓸쓸한 당신, Seoul, 1998. I came to Lonesome You with fairly neutral expectations. I had read Who Ate All the Shinga, the story of Park’s childhood in the late 1940s and through the war years. It was an interesting […]

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Book Review: The Story of Hong Gildong

by Philip Gowman 18 November 2016
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Anon (attr Heo Kyun): The Story of Hong Gildong Translated with an introduction and notes by Minsoo Kang Penguin, 2016, 100pp Penguin has done us a favour by bringing us this new translation of a classic Korean tale, along with a useful introduction and notes. Hong Gildong is often described as the Korean Robin Hood […]

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An interview with Jung Yewon

by Philip Gowman 11 November 2016
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There’s a good interview ithe Jung Yewon, translator of Hwang Jung-eun’s One Hundred Shadows, in The London Magazine. [T]he image of misty rain, “slender as spider’s silk,” is something that … stayed with me as I read, translated, and reread the book, with the ambience of a dream it spun. Authors: Hwang Jungeun

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Event news: Hwang Jungeun book launch at London Review Bookshop

by Philip Gowman 4 October 2016
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Tilted Axis Press is launching its first Korean title on 20 October at the London Review Bookshop. Hwang Jungeun will be present to discuss her work. Tickets via Eventbrite. You can buy a copy of the book before then via the Tilted Axis Press website. Hwang Jungeun: One Hundred Shadows London Review Bookshop | 14 […]

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Book review: Hwang Sun-won — Lost Souls

by Philip Gowman 30 August 2016
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Hwang Sun-won: Lost Souls Translated by Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton Columbia University Press 2010, 354pp Having quite enjoyed two of Hwang Sun-won’s fuller-length stories – Trees on a Slope and Descendants of Cain – though without necessarily being enamoured of the characters of the stories they inhabited, I was looking forward to tackling Lost Souls, […]

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Inspector O in NYT feature

by Philip Gowman 29 August 2016
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There’s a nice feature on James Church and his Inspector O series in the NYT. Well worth a read, as are the books themselves. Here’s a good quote from the article: “If you want to understand North Korea then you need to read Inspector O,” said Michael Madden, who has spent years studying the North […]

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Krys Lee featured in the Guardian

by Philip Gowman 13 August 2016
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There’s a really good interview with Krys Lee (Drifting House, How I Became a North Korean) in The Guardian: “The acclaimed short story writer talks about her debut novel, trying to understand her violent father and moving back from the US to South Korea”. The novel is available on Amazon from 18 August. Krys Lee […]

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Anti-Americanism in Democratizing South Korea

by Philip Gowman 30 July 2016
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This book by David Straub, head of the political section in the US Embassy in Seoul 1999-2002, has just gone onto my wishlist. Reviews by Aidan Foster Carter in the Korea JoongAng Daily and by Bradley K Martin in Asia Times. Available from Amazon.co.uk. Published by Stanford’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and distributed by the […]

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Event news: August’s literature night features Jung Young Moon

by Philip Gowman 29 July 2016
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The last two literature nights featuring Hwang Sun-won and Park Wan-suh have been really rewarding. Even if you’re not wholly convinced about the subject book, the opportunity to discuss it with others always provides different ways of looking at it. I hope I’ll get around to writing about both books – Park Wan-suh’s Lonesome You […]

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Those foreigner-friendly cookery books keep on coming…

by Philip Gowman 26 July 2016
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Time was when you really couldn’t lay your hands on a cookery book focusing on Korean food that was written by someone who understood the UK market. We were all waiting for Judy Joo’s Korean Food Made Simple – which according to Amazon was published on 19 May this year, though it was available on […]

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