Books

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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Book review: Lee Jung-myung — The Investigation

by Philip Gowman 10 December 2014
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Lee Jung-myung: The Investigation Translated by Kim Chi-young Mantle, 2014, 288pp The central character in The Investigation is a real historical figure: Yun Dong-ju, a poet who had the misfortune to live in the Japanese colonial period. There can be few worse fates for a poet than to be prohibited from writing in his native […]

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Book review: Haïlji — The Republic of Užupis

by Philip Gowman 8 December 2014
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Haïlji: The Republic of Užupis Translated by Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton Dalkey Archive 2014. 160pp Originally published as 우주피스 공화국, Minumsa, 2009. Imagine what Haruki Murakami might come up with in a collaboration with David Lynch, after watching a few monster-free episodes of Doctor Who, and you might get an inkling of what to expect […]

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Two Dalkey titles in the running for international literary award

by Philip Gowman 6 December 2014
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There’s tough competition, and a longlist of 140 other books including one by JK Rowling, but two Dalkey Archive titles are in the running for the 2015 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. According to the award’s website: Nominations are made by libraries in capital and major cities throughout the world. Participating libraries can nominate up […]

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Book review: Kim Joo-young — Stingray

by Philip Gowman 1 December 2014
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Kim Joo-young: Stingray Dalkey Archive 2013, 124pp Translated by Inrae You Vinciguerra and Louis Vinciguerra. Originally published as 홍어, Munidang, Seoul, 1998 Stingray has the accolade of being allocated #1 in Dalkey Archive‘s set of 10 Korean novels translated into English. It happens to be the third I’ve picked up. The first two were real […]

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Book review: The Birth of Korean Cool

by Philip Gowman 28 November 2014
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Euny Hong: The Birth of Korean Cool How one nation is conquering the world through pop culture Simon & Schuster UK, 2014, 267pp Euny Hong’s first non-fiction book (we loved her novel) is in turn infuriating, entertaining and informative. Let’s get the infuriating bits done with first. In her approach to Romanization she is cavalier, […]

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Bringing Kim Hoon’s Hwajang to the big screen: How to act a swollen prostate?

by Philip Gowman 3 November 2014
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Im Kwon-taek set himself quite a challenge when he decided to make a movie of Kim Hoon’s Hwajang. It is a dense, concentrated and rich piece of writing – I hesitate to say “short story”, because really there’s not much narrative flow. Instead, there’s well-balanced contrast; there’s inner thoughts and emotions; there are the human […]

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Come celebrate the launch of the next 5 Dalkey K-Lit titles

by Philip Gowman 30 October 2014
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After last year’s release of ten titles, Dalkey Archive Press has a follow-up release of five new translations. If they all measure up to No One Writes Back from their first set, which was runaway winner of LKL’s Book of the Year 2013, there is treasure in store. So come and help celebrate, and encourage […]

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LKL’s latest must-see film of the LKFF 2014: The Road Called Life

by Philip Gowman 28 October 2014
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It’s taking a while to go through the LKFF 2014 programme to prioritise those films which I simply *have* to go to see. So thanks to Frances Yoo from Studio Meditation with a Pencil for alerting me to the title that instantly has gone from “when I get round to it, I’ll look to see […]

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Seduced by Yi Seong-gye: the first volumes in the Sillok are translated

by Philip Gowman 18 October 2014
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The Annals of King T’aejo, Found of Korea’s Choson Dynasty Translated and annotated by Choi Byonghyon Harvard University Press, 2014, 1,028 pp I wandered into the University bookshop last night for a browse. I’d just been to see Andrew Killick talk about Hwang Byungki at SOAS, and thought I might try to pick up his […]

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Twinsters story comes to the Kindle

by Philip Gowman 4 October 2014
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Those of you who have been following the story of identical twins Anais Bordier and Samantha Futerman will be pleased to know that their story will be available on Kindle at the end of this month or hardcover next month. The title is Separated @ Birth: A True Love Story of Twin Sisters Reunited. The […]

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SOAS Book Launch event: Assorted Chatter about Mr.Y’s Literature

by Philip Gowman 28 September 2014
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Notice of a book launch event as part of SOAS’s ongoing programme of Friday evening seminars: Assorted Chatter about Mr.Y’s Literature Byoung Yoong KANG (Writer & Assistant Professor, Department of Asian and African Studies, University of Ljubljana) 3 October 2014, 5:15 – 7:00 PM Venue: Brunei Gallery | B102 Type of Event: Book Launch Abstract […]

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Book Review: The Zen Monastic Experience

by Philip Gowman 21 August 2014
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Robert E Buswell, Jr: The Zen Monastic Experience – Buddhist Practice in Contemporary Korea Princeton University Press, 1992, 259pp A curious tourist visiting one of the popular Korean temples will admire the architecture of the buildings; will poke their nose into the main shrine, nervously wondering whether they’re allowed in and if so what is […]

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“Jazz” in the DPRK: Autumn Whispers and the forbidden fruit of Richard Clayderman

by Philip Gowman 7 July 2014
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I’ve just finished reading Jang Jin-sung’s memoir, Dear Leader. It’s a real page-turner that will appeal to many types of readers, including people who like a good adventure story (the passages describing Jang’s evasion of Chinese and North Korean security forces once he has fled from the North Korean capital are genuinely exciting) and of […]

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The London Korean Novel Club

by Philip Gowman 29 June 2014
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Many LKL followers will have already heard of the London Korean Novel Club – not to be confused with the monthly Korean Literature Night meetups at the KCC. The London Korean Novel Club was born in part because the KCC-organised literature nights seemed to get booked up so quickly: there’s obviously a market for informal […]

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An evening with Bae Suah at SOAS

by Philip Gowman 6 June 2014
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Another highly recommended event linked to the London Book Fair 2014 cultural programme coordinated by the British Council: Border States and Mother Tongues: an evening with Bae Suah Wednesday 11 June 2014, 17.15-20.00 Room B104 (Brunei Gallery Building, 1st floor), SOAS, University of London, London WC1H 0XG. Bae Suah, currently in residence at Writers’ Centre […]

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Gong Ji-young on tuna sandwiches, Jane Eyre and manual labour

by Philip Gowman 27 May 2014
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Gong Ji-young was passing through London on her way to the Hay Literary Festival. Saturday would involve dinner with Stephen Fry as president of the Festival, together with other authors. Sunday morning, hopefully without a hangover, she would be sharing the stage with British author Ned Beauman in a conversation with Granta online poetry editor […]

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