On the second evening of the London Book Fair there were no author events. No panel sessions, no “conversations with…” And that was because all the Korean authors, along with interpreters, LTI Korea representatives, British Council, Ministry of Culture folks and sundry hangers-on such as myself, were at BAFTA for a reception. It was at this reception that the Korean Minister of Culture formally invited the UK as guest country in the 2016 Seoul Book Fair – as a continuation not only of the relationships built up over the course of the London Book Fair but also the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries during President Park’s visit last year.
Also among the literary types was artist Shin Meekyoung, whose solo show finished at the KCC back in January. She was at BAFTA to launch a new phase in her Toilet Project – in which she leaves soap statues in conveniences across the country to document the erosion caused by hand-washing.
She had just placed a red soap Buddha in the gents loo. “Not a very big one,” she explained. “Men don’t wash their hands very much.” True.