A review of the Korean cultural year 2020

It would be an understatement to say that the cultural year 2020 has been markedly different from previous years. The pandemic has had a huge impact on the cultural scene, with most live events cancelled and event promoters falling back on the internet to provide us with our cultural fixes. Some of these attempts have […]

A look back at our 2020 reading diary

Like many readers, we started the year with good intention of blitzing through the pile of new titles that were promised for the coming months, as well as making inroads into the backlog. And we genuinely got off to a good start with a string of fun K-thrillers, some of them new, some not: The […]

Season’s greetings to all our readers

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to all of LKL’s readers, friends and contributors. Have a peaceful break with as many of your nearest and dearest as you are permitted to see, and whatever you do stay safe. When I wrote a similar post this time last year I expressed the wish that […]

December events 2020

As we emerge from the lockdown: Exhibitions The KCC’s Artist of the Year exhibition featuring Jewyo Rhii lasts until the end of January. There’s a series of online talks associated with the exhibition. Han Collection has an exhibition of buncheong ceramics all month. Skipwiths have an online exhibition featuring Hyojin Park – Spiritual Garden Awakening […]

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 […]

Gallery: START Art Fair 2020

A few installation views of the Korean artists and galleries displaying work at START Art Fair in the Saatchi Gallery at the end of October: A show-stopping display of Ceviga’s work by Skipwiths – who also introduced a work by Kim Hayoung; Intricate musical sculptures by Eunhyue Shin – constructed in part from broken musical […]

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, […]