Han Kang (한강)

This year, I haven’t even come close to keeping up with the volume of newly-published literature in translation, let alone the plethora of new non-fiction. Perhaps to balance my feelings of guilt at falling behind the pace of new publications, I’ve tried to make inroads into my guilt pile in respect of previous years – […]

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Festival film review double bill: Two Doors / The Remnants

by Philip Gowman 22 November 2017
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As part of the Documentary strand of the 2017 London Korean Film Festival Lee Hyuk-sang of the activist documentary makers PINKS presented a pair of films on the Yongsan tragedy. The context of the tragedy was the plan to redevelop the Yongsan area as the US army prepared to move to their new base in […]

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On reading Han Kang’s White Book by the pool

by Philip Gowman 17 November 2017
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In general, I tend not to read much literary fiction. If I’m reading stuff which is unrelated to Korea, it’s likely to be either non-fiction or easy reading – a detective story or something reasonably lightweight. When it comes to Korea-related reading, until relatively recently the balance has again been in favour of non-fiction. But […]

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Han Kang launches her White Book in London & Manchester

by Events Editor 1 November 2017
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Waterstones will be hosting events to celebrate the launch of Han Kang’s White Book this month. I fear the London event seems to be booked out already, but you can always go up to Manchester: Han Kang in conversation With Max Porter, London Tottenham Court Road, 13 Nov 6:30pm Details With Deborah Smith, Manchester Deansgate, […]

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2017 Korean Literature Nights

by Events Editor 11 February 2017
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The KCC’s first Korean Literature Night of 2017 features another of Hwang Sun-mi’s short novels. And this year, the nights don’t clash with the film screenings. 2017 Korean Literature Nights The Korean Literature Night (KLN) is a monthly discussion group, held on the last Wednesday evening of the month (apart from the first meeting), that […]

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Han Kang’s Vegetarian wins the Man Booker International Prize

by Philip Gowman 24 May 2016
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The news that Han Kang and Deborah Smith had won the Man Booker International prize for The Vegetarian, sharing £50,000 between them, reached me on Tuesday morning, 17th May, in a hotel room of a vast Lotte resort celebrating Baekje cultural heritage just outside of Buyeo, Chungcheongnamdo. I saw the news on Facebook, and just […]

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Why Han Kang’s Human Acts is likely to be my book of the year

by Philip Gowman 17 February 2016
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Han Kang: Human Acts Translated by Deborah Smith Portobello Books, 2016, 224pp Originally published as 소년이 온다, Changbi Publishers Inc, Seoul, 2014 Han Kang’s Human Acts hits the bookshelves in the UK just as The Vegetarian starts to make waves in the US. The latter book has already made its mark in the UK, making […]

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Deborah Smith wins Literary Translation award.

by Philip Gowman 29 January 2016
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Han Kang says she’s “amazing”. Deborah Levy says she’s “obviously a genius”. And now, congratulations to Deborah Smith for winning The Arts Foundation Literary Translation Award 2016. According to the TLS blog, the award comes with a £10,000 bursary which Deborah plans to use “to fund research into the Korean author Yi Chong-jun” (Your Paradise, […]

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Event news: launch of Han Kang’s Human Acts

by Events Editor 17 December 2015
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Three separate opportunities to hear Han Kang talk about her newly-translated book, Human Acts – a Norwich appearance sandwiched in between two London ones. If you can’t wait to get hold of a copy of the book, Foyles (whose event is 13 Jan) claim they have “exclusive availability of Human Acts for a full month […]

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Book review: Han Kang — The Vegetarian

by Philip Gowman 26 November 2015
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Han Kang: The Vegetarian Translated by Deborah Smith Portobello Books, 2015, 183pp Originally published as 채식주의자, Seoul 2007 Sometimes, reading translated Korean literature can be a bit of a private affair. You read it, you maybe enjoy it and appreciate it, but you think twice about recommending it to a non Koreaphile; or if you […]

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Book news: Han Kang’s Human Acts coming in January 2016

by Philip Gowman 4 November 2015
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Han Kang is among the eight women writers whose books have been awarded an English PEN grant in the latest round. Han, acclaimed author of The Vegetarian, will publish her novel Human Acts in January 2016 with the backing of both a PEN Promotes and a PEN Translates grant. Deborah Smith once again translates, and […]

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Han Kang and Deborah Levy in conversation with Deborah Smith

by Events Editor 10 January 2015
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When Han Kang appeared at an event with Shin Kyung-sook on day 2 of the 2014 London Book Fair we were treated to a sneak preview of the cover artwork of the English translation of The Vegetarian. It was hot off the press: the book’s translator Deborah Smith had been sent some samples that very […]

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LBF sketch: the snippets which didn’t quite make it…

by Philip Gowman 17 May 2014
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Sometimes a discussion session is really interesting and you come out of it thinking you’ve get some really good material; and then when you check your notes later there’s just not enough to do a coherent write-up – or the notes don’t make a lot of sense. Or one session might cover the same ground […]

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London Book Fair, day 2

by Philip Gowman 10 April 2014
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Day 2 of the London Book Fair, in which: Han Kang said very nice things about her translator (Deborah Smith) and Shin Kyung-sook called hers her “twin soul”; We discovered that Kim Young-ha was about to start writing a historical novel set in the Joseon dynasty, only to find out that Kim Insuk had already […]

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