Books

LKL reports from two events involving Hwang Sun-mi at the London Book Fair in Earls Court. So you think Hwang Sun-mi’s bestselling book The hen who dreamed she could fly is all about maternal sacrifice? Think again. It could be that you’ve been influenced by the film adaptation Leafie, a hen into the wild. During […]

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LTI Korea video: Yi Mun-yol in conversation with Claire Armitstead

by Philip Gowman 19 April 2014
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Here is LTI Korea’s video of Yi Mun-yol in conversation with The Guardian‘s Claire Armitstead at the English PEN Literary Salon, Earls Court on the last day of the London Book Fair 2014, 10 April 2014: Links: LTI Korea website | YouTube channel Authors: Yi Mun-yol (이문열)

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LTI Korea video: Shin Kyung-sook in conversation with Arifa Akbar

by Philip Gowman 19 April 2014
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Here is LTI Korea’s video of Shin Kyung-sook in conversation with The Independent‘s Arifa Akbar on the first day of the London Book Fair. The topic is mainly Please Look After Mother, but also we talk about I’ll be Right There, and we learn about what Shin is working on right now. LKL’s question comes […]

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Lee Jung-myung in London to promote The Investigation

by Philip Gowman 12 April 2014
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Unannounced to any apart from the Korean press, Lee Jung-myung was in town this week with his agent, signing copies of his novel The Investigation (another Kim Chi-young translation). He appeared at Goldsboro Books on Monday night, 7 April – the day before the Book Fair opened. The man behind the counter described the book […]

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“Asian Literature” in Hong Kong

by Philip Gowman 5 April 2014
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Before we get carried away by the idea of the new Korean Literature Wave, here’s the “Asian Literature” (in English translation) section of a decent Hong Kong bookstore this week (Page One in Times Square). Almost 50% Murakami, some Japanese Asia Extreme, and some Chinese. While this would be a normal state of affairs in […]

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10 things to read before the London Book Fair

by Philip Gowman 3 April 2014
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The London Book Fair is nearly upon us, and as you well know: the more you put in to something, the more you get out. So here is your preparatory reading (and listening) list: The April edition of Words without Borders: a Korea special, including works by Shin Kyung-sook, Kim Young-ha and Han Kang (all […]

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Book review: Lee Ki-ho — At Least we can Apologize

by Philip Gowman 27 March 2014
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Lee Ki-ho: At Least We Can Apologize Translated by Christopher J Dykas Dalkey Archive, 2013, 185pp Originally published as 사과는 잘해요, 2009 What do you do to make money when you have a limited set of skills? In this dark comedy the two central characters, who find themselves unexpectedly set free from a mysterious mental […]

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Book review: Jungu Yoon — Spirituality in Contemporary Art

by Philip Gowman 22 March 2014
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Jungu Yoon: Spirituality in Contemporary Art — The Idea of the Numinous Zidane Press 2010, 160pp For a westerner struggling to understand some of the spiritual or mystical elements in both traditional and contemporary Asian art there is a huge barrier in that Taoism and other Eastern philosophies are not something that we have lived […]

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Book review: Mark James Russell — K-POP Now!

by Philip Gowman 19 March 2014
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Mark James Russell: K-POP Now! – The Korean music revolution Tuttle Publishing, 2014, 128pp If the only thing you know about K-pop is Gangnam Style, this book is for you. And even for someone who knows a bit about the subject, this is a handy book to browse. For me, as an occasional lurker and […]

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Book review: The Hairy Bikers’ Asian Adventure

by Philip Gowman 17 March 2014
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Si King and Dave Myers: The Hairy Bikers’ Asian Adventure BBC / Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2014, 319 pp There are plenty of Asian cookery books out there, but I can’t think of a western recipe book that focuses on Korean cuisine. The Korean cookery books that are in my own library are written by Koreans. […]

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Krys Lee wins literature award

by Philip Gowman 12 March 2014
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Congratulations to Krys Lee who has won a literature award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is one of two winners of a Rome Fellowship in Literature, which involves a one-year residency (2014–2015) at the American Academy in Rome. Source Authors: Krys Lee

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Book Review: Hwang Sunmi — The Hen who Dreamed she could Fly

by Philip Gowman 26 February 2014
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Hwang Sun-mi: The Hen who dreamed she could fly Translated by Kim Chi-young; illustrations by Nomoco Oneworld Publications, 2014, 124pp First published as 마당을 나온 암탉, 2000 A brief fable that can delight children and adults alike, the story touches on themes of motherly love, discrimination, otherness, and belonging, while also touching on and accepting […]

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Book Review: Gong Ji-young — Our Happy Time

by Philip Gowman 24 February 2014
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Gong Ji-young: Our Happy Time Translated by Sora Kim-Russell Short Books, 2014, 269pp. Originally published as 우리들의 행복한 시간, 2005 Our Happy Time is not the obvious title for a novel in which a three-times attempted suicide goes reluctantly to visit a convicted murderer awaiting execution on death row. But strangely, as the relationship between […]

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Korean Literature Nights: the programme for the year

by Philip Gowman 19 February 2014
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The schedule for the literature nights at the KCC this year has been announced. The first one booked out within minutes. Booking for Your Republic is Calling You is now open. Date Author Book 26 Feb Shin Kyung-Sook Please Look after Mother (LKL Review) 26 Mar Kim Young-Ha Your Republic is Calling you (LKL Review) […]

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The Korean Novels on Screen Programme at the KCC

by Philip Gowman 17 February 2014
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The KCC, in conjunction with the British Council, has announced its programme of films inspired by Korean literature. Two and a half of the films have their original stories available in English translation. The ones available in English are The Road to Sampo and Leafie. The half-film is The Scarlet Letter, which is based both […]

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K-Pop Now! by Mark James Russell – coming soon from Tuttle Publishing

by Philip Gowman 15 February 2014
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At LKL, we loved Mark James Russell’s first book on the Korean entertainment industry, Pop Goes Korea. So we’re looking forward to his follow-up, focusing more narrowly on K-pop, which is due to be launched in April from Tuttle Publishing. It’s already available for preorder on Amazon.co.uk. Below is the official press release, or you […]

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Waterstones stocks up on Hwang Sunmi

by Philip Gowman 13 February 2014
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Seen at the Waterstones in Canary Wharf today: a pile of Hwang Sunmi’s The Hen who Dreamed She Could Fly. Nice to see that they’re including it in the buy one, get one half price promotion. My neighbourhood bookstore at home rang me today to tell me my own copy had arrived, so I’ll be […]

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