A visit to Foyles during Korean Culture Month

by Philip Gowman on 22 October, 2018

in Event reports and reviews | General book news

Foyles ground floor, at the information desk

Foyles’s Korean Culture Month runs from 13 October into the middle of November in partnership with the KCC.

As part of the promotion, Korean books are displayed prominently by the ground floor information desk and on Level 4, where all their foreign language books are.

You are able to sign up for a free exploratory language lesson on 25 October at 6:30pm (email languages@foyles.co.uk), and on 3 November there will be a book talk and signing by thriller writer Jeong You-jeong who is in town for the London Korean Film Festival and the monthly literature night at the Korean Cultural Centre.

Foyles fourth floor

For people wanting to learn Korean, or to read books in Korean (including foreign books translated into the Korean language) probably Foyles is one of your best sources in London. If however you want everything to do with Korea in one place (history, current affairs, Korean literature in translation, English language literature written by Koreans or about Korea, travel, food, language and more) without moving from section to section or floor to floor I don’t think you can do better than Daunt in Marylebone High Street, though their selection of language-learning publications is nowhere near as extensive as Foyles.

One fun way to get yourself reading and learning Korean is to read a Korean translation of one of your favourite books. I remember reading Winnie the Pooh and the Asterix books in Latin for entertainment, and as it happens someone has gone to the trouble of translating Pooh into Korean too. That book is currently available in Foyles, along with Harry Potter and other books by JK Rowling.

Unlike my Latin Winnie the Pooh one suspects that the Korean version might be read by living native speakers of the target language, and night have been translated precisely for that audience rather than for English speakers wanting an easily-accessible text. Over 10 years ago I noted that Thomas the Tank Engine had been translated for Korean children, who rate Thomas almost as highly as Pororo the Penguin.

It’s interesting to see what other books are translated for the Korean market. One of the books available in Foyles is Mark Manson’s “Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”, which presumably speaks to a generation of young Koreans stressed out from the pressures of Hell Joseon.

Also in the Foyles language section is a handful of translations into English, including Brother Anthony and Jinna Park’s translation of poems by the current Minister of Culture, Do Jong-hwan.

Do pop along to Foyles in Charing Cross Road while the promotion is running.

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