Books

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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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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