Books

This year’s Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival brings us two talks with a Korean interest. The second of these is a discussion of North Korean issues between Suki Kim, author of Without You, There Is No Us (LKL review here) and Paul French, author of North Korea: State of Paranoia. Sin Cities: Undercover in […]

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Event news: Reflections on the East Asian 20th Century, at Asia House

by Philip Gowman 27 April 2017
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This year’s Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival brings us two talks with a Korean interest. The first of these is a conversation between Min Jin Lee (LKL review of her debut novel Free Food for Millionaires here) and former Man Booker Prize for Fiction judge Erica Wagner. Reflections on the East Asian 20th Century Min Jin […]

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Book review: Song Sokze — The Amusing Life

by Philip Gowman 24 April 2017
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Song Sokze: The Amusing Life Translated by Se-un Kim Dalkey Archive, 2016, 233pp Originally published as 재미나는 인생, Kang Publishing Ltd, 1997 The most recent book to be discussed at the KCC’s monthly book club was Song Sokze’s The Amusing Life, a collection of around 50 short “stories”. None of these pieces will detain you […]

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Modern Poetry in Translation – the Korean issue

by Philip Gowman 26 March 2017
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The latest volume of Modern Poetry in Translation magazine has a focus on Korean poetry. The subtitle of the issue is The Blue Vein – a reference to a line from Kim Hyesoon’s work included in the volume. “Every morning the sky, the blue vein slaps you hard.” The extract is from Kim Hyesoon’s latest […]

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Event news: Poetry reading by Don Mee Choi

by Philip Gowman 21 March 2017
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After this evening’s poetry reading in the Coronet Theatre’s wonderful Print Room in Notting Hill Gate, Don Mee Choi will be giving another reading at SOAS, tomorrow evening. She promises she will be wearing a special costume for the occasion, at which she will be reading from her 2016 work, Hardly War. Poetry reading by […]

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Book review: Bandi — The Accusation

by Philip Gowman 16 March 2017
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Bandi: The Accusation – Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea Translated by Deborah Smith Serpents Tail 2017, 245 pp Originally published as 고발, Chogabje.com, 2014. Mike Breen, in his book The New Koreans, describes han as “a kind of rage and helplessness that is sublimated and lingers like an inactive resentment” and is often evidenced in […]

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Event news: an evening of poetry by Don Mee Choi and Denise Riley

by Philip Gowman 2 March 2017
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Looks like an interesting evening, celebrating the work of a Korean and a British poet, and marking the launch of Modern Poetry in Translation‘s Korean edition. Poetry @ the Print Room Print Room at the Coronet | 103 Notting Hill Gate | London W11 3LB | www.the-print-room.org 21 March 2017, 7:30pm | £10 | Book […]

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Book review: The Future of Silence – Fiction by Korean Women

by Philip Gowman 27 February 2017
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The Future of Silence: Fiction by Korean Women Translated and Edited by Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton Zephyr Press, 2016, 193pp When an unexpected book-shaped package landed on my doormat in April 2016 I eagerly opened it, wondering what was inside. I was slightly less enthusiastic when I discovered that it was a collection of short stories […]

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Event news: Deborah Smith on translating Bae Suah

by Philip Gowman 22 February 2017
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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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