Kim Ae-ran: The Essay Contest

UPDATE: Deadline now extended to 30 April 2018.

It’s been ages since we last had an essay contest. If I remember right, we’ve had two that have been specifically targeted at UK-based readers: back in 2009 we had one based on Ch’oe Yun’s There a Petal Silently Falls, and then the following year we were asked to digest Park Wan-suh’s Who ate all the Shinga?. I couldn’t think of much to say about either, but at least I tried with Petal. This time round, I’m hoping I’ll be more inspired. There is half a chance of this, because so far everything I’ve read of Kim Aeran’s I’ve enjoyed.

Thanks to Phillip Kim of Asia Literary Review and of course the KLTI for running this new contest.

Full details on the Asia Literary Review website.

Kim Ae-ran: The Essay

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The Asia Literary Review, in partnership with the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, invites submissions for the 2018 Korean Literature Essay Competition UK.

Kim Ae-ran

A rising young star of the Korean literary scene, Kim Ae-ran is the recipient of numerous awards. Her work has begun to be more widely translated and her novel, The Youngest Parents with the Oldest Child, was brought to the screen as My Brilliant Life by acclaimed film director E J-yong.

Kim Ae-ran is often regarded as one of the most prominent literary voices of a new generation of millennial Koreans, articulating through her writing the challenges they face in a rapidly-changing society.

ALR copies

The Contest

Essay Guidelines

  • Based on three short fiction pieces published in issues 30 & 34 of the Asia Literary Review: ‘The Youngest Parents with the Oldest Child’, ‘A Dignified Life’ and ‘Where Do You Want to Go?’
  • Ideas to consider: What is the author saying through these stories about the lives of young professionals in contemporary Korean society? What literary techniques and elements of style does she uses to convey her stories? What makes her writing effective – or not?
  • Essay length – no more than 1,500 words

Judging Panel

  • A panel of academics and professional editors, each an expert on contemporary Korean


  • Submissions are due by 24:00 GMT on 31 March 2018
  • A shortlist of 3-5 essayists will be selected by 31 May 2018
  • An award ceremony will be held in London in late June 2018 (date and venue tbd) when Kim Aeran is scheduled to visit the UK. The shortlisted essayists will pitch their essays and the judges will select a winner.


  • Each shortlisted essayist will receive a Waterstones gift certificate worth GBP100
  • The winner will be invited to attend a private dinner with Kim Ae-ran in London during her UK visit.

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