Korean literature in translation

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: 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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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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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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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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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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