Books

Shin Kyung-sook: I’ll Be Right There Translated by Sora Kim-Russell Other Press, New York, 2014, 325pp Originally published as 어디선가 나를 찾는 전화벨이 울리고, Somewhere A Phone Is Ringing For Me, 2010 There are people who liked Shin Kyung-sook’s most famous work – Please Look After Mother – and those that didn’t. In the latter […]

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Book news: Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo

by Philip Gowman 23 August 2015
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Fashion designer Rejina Pyo has joined with her husband, chef and food writer Jordan Bourke, to produce Our Korean Kitchen, available from 3 September (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £25). Judging by the extract published today in The Guardian, the recipe book is user-friendly, full of welcoming photographs, and adapts traditional recipes to accommodate ingredients available in […]

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Book news: Han Kang at the Edinburgh Book Festival

by Philip Gowman 14 August 2015
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Hang Kang will be appearing with Mary Costello at the Edinburgh Book Festival. And you can vote for Han Kang’s The Vegetarian for the First Book Award here. The Quest for Another Life Mary Costello & Han Kang Sun 16 Aug 7:00pm – 8:00pm Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre £7.00, £5.00 Book here ‘Heartbreaking’ and ‘packed […]

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Event news: Talk & See with Hwang Sun-mi

by Philip Gowman 13 August 2015
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A lovely book, and a charming film – though obviously the author prefers the original. Hwang Sun-mi will be on hand to discuss both this Sunday at a talk and screening. Talk & See with Hwang Sun-mi Sunday 16 August, 4pm £10 (Children free) Soho Hotel | 4 Richmond Mews | London W1D 3DH We […]

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Brief book review: Mark James Russell — Young-hee and the Pullocho

by Philip Gowman 17 July 2015
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Mark James Russell: Young-hee and the Pullocho Tuttle Publishing, 2015, 258pp So annoying. I get sent a review copy of a work of fiction. I warn them that I probably won’t have time to read it properly, but promise to do my best to have a quick flick through it and to write a polite notice […]

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KWK Talk: A Korean Literary Evening with Deborah Smith, 4 Aug

by Philip Gowman 28 June 2015
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One of two discussions on aspects of contemporary Korean culture as part of Kingston Welcomes Korea – the other featuring Colette Balmain on the vengeful ghost in Korean movies. Deborah Smith’s translation credits include Han Kang’s The Vegetarian as well as Ahn Do-hyun’s fable mentioned below. The venue is New Malden Library – conveniently close […]

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A Poetry Evening with Ko Un and Brother Anthony

by Philip Gowman 27 June 2015
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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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