Books

Ko Un is paying one of his regular visits to the UK in July, with a reading at the KCC on 15 July which follows his appearance at the Ledbury Poetry Festival: A Poetry Evening with Ko Un Ko Un with Brother Anthony of Taizé reading in Korean and English Wednesday 15 July 2015, 7pm […]

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Ko Un and Brother Anthony at the Ledbury Poetry Festival

by Philip Gowman 27 June 2015
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Ko Un will be appearing at the Ledbury Poetry Festival with Brother Anthony this month, before coming to London: Ko Un and Brother Anthony 12 July 2015, 4.15pm–5.15pm Burgage Hall | Church Lane | Ledbury | Herefordshire HR8 1DW Box office 01531 636 232 | £9 Andrew Motion, in his introduction to First Person Sorrowful, […]

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Hyeonseo Lee: The Girl with Seven Names and three book launches

by Philip Gowman 9 June 2015
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Hyeonseo Lee’s memoir, The Girl with Seven Names, is published on 2 July. Three separate events on 1 July (Asia House), 2 July (European Association for Human Rights in North Korea) and 3 July (Guardian / Amnesty) will give you the chance to hear her story and get a signed copy. Details in date order […]

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Hwang Sok-yong returns to London

by Philip Gowman 13 May 2015
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A little over a year after the London Book Fair, at which his Vietnam war novel The Shadow of Arms was launched, Hwang Sok-yong returned to London to launch Sora Kim-Russell’s translation of his 2007 novel Princess Bari. Hwang appeared at Asia House today for a book-signing and conversation with Guardian literary critic Maya Jaggi, […]

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I rather think I agree

by Philip Gowman 26 April 2015
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Have a read of Charles Montgomery’s post What a Terrible Idea! ㅡ Merging the Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea and the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, and a similar article by Korea Herald editorial writer Kim Hooran Market principle, culture don’t mix. Links: LTI Korea | KPIPA

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I think I just don’t get Park Kyung-ni

by Philip Gowman 19 April 2015
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Having failed to make much headway with Park Kyung-ni’s T’oji / Land, I thought I might give her Curse of Kim’s Daughters a try, in preparation for a re-watch of Yu Hyun-mok’s film adaptation of the novel. I didn’t particularly enjoy the movie the first time I saw it. But then, so far I haven’t […]

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A timely arrival for the 2015 London Book Fair

by Philip Gowman 15 April 2015
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Last year there were a couple of translations of Korean novels whose publication was timed to coincide with the London Book Fair. This year, despite Korea no longer being the focus country, the habit seems to be continuing. Bae Suah’s Nowhere to be Found, translated by Sora Kim-Russell, arrived on my doormat today, day 2 […]

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A Conversation with Hwang Sok-yong, at Asia House

by Philip Gowman 15 April 2015
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This year the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival gives us a Korean heavyweight. Hwang Sok-yong will be coming to talk about his recently translated novel, Princess Bari. Read LKL’s interview with the book’s translator, Sora Kim-Russell, here. UPDATE: Asia House has kindly offered LKL readers a discount of £2 off the ticket price. Simply enter the […]

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Book review: Pavane for a Dead Princess

by Philip Gowman 7 April 2015
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Park Min-gyu: Pavane for a Dead Princess Translated by Amber Hyun Jung Kim Dalkey Archive, 2014, 262pp Originally published as 죽은 왕녀를 위한 파반느, 2009 Park Min-gyu’s Pavane for a Dead Princess is the first in Dalkey Archive’s second set (of five volumes) of their Library of Korean Literature. Even though I’ve only had time […]

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Pak Chiwon’s Jehol Diary: An amiable bore abroad

by Philip Gowman 30 March 2015
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Pak Chiwon: The Jehol Diary Translated with notes by Yang Hi Choe-Wall Global Oriental 2010, 208pp The Jehol Diary is a contemporary account of one of the regular journeys from Joseon Korea to Qing China bearing tribute to the emperor. The journey described in this diary took place in 1780, and was ordered by King Jeongjo […]

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Evelyn Glennie’s musical journey in Korea

by Philip Gowman 17 March 2015
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Percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie has just been in the news for winning the Polar Music Prize 2015 along with Emmylou Harris. The award, according to its website, is “one of the most prestigious and unique music prizes in the world, crossing over musical boundaries and awarded to individuals, groups and institutions in recognition of exceptional […]

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Global Oriental title on Joseon dynasty wins American Library Association award

by Philip Gowman 21 February 2015
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Congratulations to Brill / Global Oriental books, whose Everyday Life in Joseon-Era Korea was in Choice Magazine’s list of Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014. The book, edited by Cambridge University’s Michael Shin, is a collection of features on various aspects of life in the Joseon Dynasty: Everyday Life in Joseon-Era Korea shows how the momentous […]

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Published this month: Ko Un’s Maninbo, from Bloodaxe

by Philip Gowman 20 February 2015
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Bloodaxe Books, who last year brought us Kim Hyesoon’s I’m OK, I’m Pig!, and who brought us Ko Un’s moving First Person Sorrowful in 2012 continue their support for Korean poetry in translation by bringing us a selection from Ko Un’s magnum opus, Ten Thousand Lives. Once again Brother Anthony and Lee Sang-Wha are the […]

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An interview with Sora Kim-Russell, translator of Hwang Sok-yong’s Princess Bari

by Philip Gowman 12 February 2015
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Those of you who came along to the London Book Fair last year and were tantalised by seeing a translation of a passage from Hwang Sok-yong’s Princess Bari – at the time unpublished in English, and with no indication even that any more of the book had been translated – will be delighted by this […]

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Han Kang and Deborah Levy in conversation with Deborah Smith

by Philip Gowman 10 January 2015
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When Han Kang appeared at an event with Shin Kyung-sook on day 2 of the 2014 London Book Fair we were treated to a sneak preview of the cover artwork of the English translation of The Vegetarian. It was hot off the press: the book’s translator Deborah Smith had been sent some samples that very […]

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I suppose I’ve got to read this, but what a tacky cover!

by Philip Gowman 3 January 2015
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Oh dear. The story of Shin Sang-ok’s and Choi Eun-hee’s sojourn in North Korea is a compelling one, regardless of whether you think there was compulsion involved. And a book covering film in North Korea is welcome, though Johannes Schönherr has already covered the ground. But do you have to make the book look so […]

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Festival Film Review: This Road Called Life

by Philip Gowman 15 December 2014
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Following on from the success of their feature-length animation Green Days, Studio MWP worked with Korean TV broadcaster EBS to produce a trio of short films which adapt three familiar short stories which are studied by most Koreans in high school: Yi Hyo-seok’s Buckwheat Season, Kim Yu-jeong’s Spring, Spring, and A Lucky Day by Hyun […]

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