Review: City of Ash and Red

City of Ash and Red is a novel for 2020, even though it was originally published in 2010. Inspired no doubt in part by the SARS outbreak of 2002-3, Pyun Hye-young imagines a world where a virus has the potential to shut down whole countries, in which visitors are tested for infection on arrival at […]

Review: Na Man’gap – the Diary of 1636

Na Man’gap’s Diary of 1636, as George Kallander explains in his informative introduction, is the longest known private account of the second Manchu invasion of Korea. Na (1592 – 1642) was a senior scholar-official who was with the King and court inside Namhansanseong – he was in charge of military rations – throughout the siege […]

November events 2020

As we head back into lock-down, there’s only a couple of days left in November to visit the exhibitions. And we commiserate with the KCCUK and LEAFF organisers, who have worked so hard to find venues for screenings and live music only to find that the pandemic has other ideas. Books and Talks Thank heavens […]

K-music 2020: now online only

It was a brave attempt: despite the pandemic, K-music 2020 was originally planned to open and close with live gigs. Now neither gig will now go ahead as planned. Flying over ADG7, a 9-member band with its associated staff, as Covid conditions worsened proved too much of a challenge. So the opening concert was the […]

Buckwheat tops the translation league table

As I’ve been logging the various publications during the construction of LKL’s K-lit hub, I’ve been keeping an eye on those stories which appear most often in English translation, whether in an anthology or a standalone publication. Charles Montgomery has always said that When the Buckwheat Blooms is the most published story, and I’ve yet […]

Announcing LKL’s new K-Lit Hub

I haven’t been posting much on LKL recently. That’s not because nothing’s been going on. On the contrary, there’s been plenty of exhibitions to review, online film festivals to attend, and some real-world foodie events to enjoy. In fact, I have a longer than ever writing backlog, which I shall do my best to backfill. So […]

K-music 2020: the official press release

Despite the pandemic, Serious and the KCCUK have arranged a great line-up for K-music this year. Bookended by live performances to open and close the festival, there’s a range of exciting online performances which involve new collaborations between favourite K-music artists from the past as well as some new names. We’ve already posted about the […]

October events 2020

How did it get to be October so quickly? Once Chuseok is over, prepare yourselves for K-music and the LKFF, both of which have a mix of live and online events. There’s plenty else on too. Arts and exhibitions Han Collection celebrates London Crafts Week with Brilliant Hues – a selection of ceramics from Icheon, […]

LKFF 2020 announces its line-up

This is now the 15th edition of the festival organised by KCCUK. As is to be expected, this year is somewhat different, with many of the screenings taking place online. There’s plenty to enjoy in the programme. We’re particularly looking forward to Mark Morris’s selection of Mudang films. Here’s the official press release; we’ll be […]

Suhyung Lee at Crispins: an oasis in a desert

Six months after the start of the national lockdown, when we’d been starved of food, companionship and conviviality for half of the year, the one-night pop-up event at Crispins in Spitalfields, featuring Korean chef Suhyung Lee, was like an oasis in the desert. Yes, there was the prospect of some interesting Korean-inspired dishes – we’d […]

Review: Pyun Hye-young – The Law of Lines

Life was much deeper than he could ever imagine. It was impossible to tell just how far you could sink1 Two apparent suicides in different parts of the country kick-start two separate story-lines which turn out to be interlinked. Se-oh is the daughter of one of the deceased – a man who had fallen into […]

Korean films at the 2020 BFI London Film Festival (this won’t take long)

The programme for the 64th BFI London Film Festival was announced earlier this week. As one might expect, the format is somewhat different this year. The schedule boasts “over 50 virtual premieres and a selection of highly anticipated new feature film previews … with work from more than 40 countries”. However, despite the diversity of […]

September events 2020

Korean events are gradually emerging from the online world into the real world. But the Kingston Harvest Fest will be online this year. Look out for announcements about some video streamings on 26 September. Deadlines Apply to attend Sora Kim-Russell’s book talk by 1 September Fill in your K-pop Academy application by 9 September The […]

Why Crash Landing on You had us hooked

What a preposterous scenario for a drama. A chaebol heiress goes paragliding, gets swept away by a freak tornado and lands north of the DMZ, where she is discovered by a North Korean soldier and ends up getting emotionally entangled. I loved it. Of course, the scenario is a lot more complicated than that. How […]