Books

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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Gong Ji-young in conversation with Grace Koh

by Philip Gowman 19 May 2014
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So you thought you were done with the London Book Fair? Think again. As part of the ongoing programme which the British Council reminded us about at the Fair, it’s about more than just the three days in April. For starters, LKL hasn’t finished writing it all up yet… But more importantly Gong Ji-young’s in […]

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Paul French discusses North Korea: State of Paranoia

by Philip Gowman 18 May 2014
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A talk at the Fulham branch of the wonderful Daunt Books. I’m assuming this is a second edition of his Paranoid Peninsula. Paul French in conversation with Harriet Evans on North Korea: State of Paranoia Thursday 29th May, 7pm at Daunt Books Fulham Road North Korea continues to make headlines, arousing curiosity and fear in […]

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English PEN video: Hwang Sunmi in conversation with Maya Jaggi

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2014
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Here is English PEN’s video of Hwang Sun-mi in conversation with Maya Jaggi on the second day of the London Book Fair. The Hen who Dreamed she could Fly is obviously one of the things discussed. Links: English PEN YouTube channel Titles: The Hen who Dreamed she could Fly Authors: Hwang Sun-mi (황선미)

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English PEN video: Kim Young-ha in conversation with Krys Lee

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2014
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Here is English PEN’s video of Kim Young-ha in conversation with Krys Lee on the first day of the London Book Fair: Links: English PEN YouTube channel Authors: Kim Young-ha (김영하)

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Shin Kyung-sook on what modernity makes us forget

by Philip Gowman 11 May 2014
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Shin Kyung-sook attended three London events during the this year’s London Book Fair: a conversation with Arifa Akbar on 8 April, a panel session with Han Kang on Families, Relationships and Society on 9 April, and a panel entitled Separations with Krys Lee and Quaisra Shahraz at Asia House on 10 April. The below  is a digest […]

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Hwang Sok-yong and the burden of history

by Philip Gowman 6 May 2014
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Like many of his fellow authors at the London Book Fair, Hwang Sok-yong was put to work in at least three events: first at the Free Word Centre on 7 April with author Adam Foulds; then on the first day of the Fair itself he appeared with Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie in a panel session […]

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A Poem I Didn’t Name – Ko Un on the Sewol tragedy

by Philip Gowman 3 May 2014
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In this month’s edition of Words Without Borders, a translation by Brother Anthony of Taizé and Lee Sang-Wha of a new poem by Ko Un on the Korean ferry disaster. Here’s one stanza: A floodtide of sorrow has risen in every corner of this country, everyone feeling indignant, fists clenched. Not only anger, not only […]

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