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Korean authors at the London Book Fair – the official press release

Here is the official press release from the British Council website:


Leading Korean writers billed for market focus cultural programme at the London Book Fair 2014

The British Council, in partnership with The Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea) is delighted to announce the Korea Market Focus Cultural Programme for The London Book Fair 2014. This year’s Cultural Programme involves ten of Korea’s most prominent and exciting writers who represent the very best of the country’s contemporary literature. The London Book Fair Cultural Programme will provide a valuable opportunity for UK audiences and publishers to meet and interact with Korean writers, who will in turn be able to engage with their UK counterparts in front of an international literary audience.

The Cultural Programme, curated by the British Council, involves ten writers from Korea, more than 35 panellists, including UK writers, translators and editors, at more than 20 events at 12 venues across four UK cities. The writers will explore themes including the literary imagination, change in Korean society, the role of the family in Korean literature, digital innovation in literature and Korean literary traditions.

The participating writers represent the diversity of contemporary Korean writing across a range of themes and formats. The delegation includes:

  • Celebrated novelist Hwang Sok-yong; Vietnam War veteran, political dissident and novelist whose best known work is The Guest.
  • Critically acclaimed novelist Yi Mun-yol, known for his award winning novel, Our Twisted Hero.
  • Kyung-sook Shin, the first Korean and first woman to win the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2011 for her novel Please Look After Mother.
  • Distinguished poet Kim Hyesoon and ground-breaking webtoonist Yoon Tae-ho.

The London Book Fair’s Market Focus ‘Author of the Day’ on Wednesday 9 April will be Hwang Sun-mi, children’s writer and author of the bestselling modern fable, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, who will participate in seminars, talks, book signings and photo opportunities across the fair.

Public events and readings will also be taking place at important partner venues throughout London and across the UK. These will include events at Asia House, British Library, Cambridge Literary Festival, Edinburgh City Libraries, Korean Cultural Centre, London Review Bookshop and Wales Literature Exchange amongst others. The full programme of events will be announced on the British Council Literature website in early February.

The Cultural Programme in April 2014 is the culmination of a programme of events that began in September 2013 and will carry on through October 2014 with Korean writers participating in literary events and festivals around the UK throughout the rest of the year. Activity up until now has included:

  • Writers Trip to Korea (September 2013): UK writers Tim Bowler, Julia Golding and Kerry Hudson participated in live literature events at Wow Book Festival and Paju Booksori Festival.
  • Study Trip to the UK (November 2013): With the support of the Arts Council Korea, Korean literary professionals travelled to the UK to meet with their counterparts from UK publishers, festivals, reading and literacy organisations.
  • Editors Trip to Korea (November 2013): Six UK literary editors from UK publishing houses travelled to Korea to meet with Korean writers, editors and agents to build relationships to further promote Korean and British literature.

The British Council, now in its seventh year as strategic partner to The London Book Fair, has worked in wide consultation with its official partners, industry professionals, and experts in the field to curate and develop a cultural programme which demonstrates the excellence, depth and breadth of the contemporary Korean literary scene.

Cortina Butler, Director Literature, British Council said: “The British Council anticipates that the Korea Market Focus Cultural Programme will have a lasting impact on appreciation in this country of the strength and depth of contemporary Korean literature. We are delighted to be working with The London Book Fair and the Literature Translation Institute of Korea on this programme and believe that it creates a unique opportunity for the writing, publishing and reading communities in the UK and Korea to build understanding and make connections.”

Kim Seong-Kon, President, Literature Translation Institute of Korea, said: “The eyes of the world are upon the 2014 London Book Fair as the event will provide a collegiate place where different cultures and books from all over the world will meet in good will. The event will also play an important role in promoting cultural understanding between Korea and the UK.”

Amy Webster, International & Market Focus Manager, The London Book Fair said: “The London Book Fair is delighted to be partnering with the British Council for the seventh year on the Market Focus Cultural Programme. Along with partner LTI Korea, the British Council’s author programme promises to give expert access to a culture and a literary tradition which many of our audiences will be keen to discover in and around the fair. As publishers are now leveraging content across many platforms, it is exciting to see a number of this year’s featured authors have books that have been adapted for film, and also write specifically for the web, which adds an exciting new dimension to an already well-anticipated programme.”

The British Council Literature Department works with writers, publishers, producers, translators and other sector professionals worldwide to develop innovative, high-quality programmes and collaborations that provide opportunities for cultural exchange with the UK, through festivals, book fairs and conferences or in the classroom.

The full list of participating authors is:

  • Hwang Sok-yong
  • Yi Mun-yol
  • Lee Seung-U
  • Kim Insuk
  • Shin Kyung-sook
  • Kim Young-ha
  • Han Kang
  • Kim Hyesoon
  • Hwang Sun-mi
  • Yoon Tae-ho

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