London Book Fair, day 2

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 […]

Kim Young-ha: Black Flower – an imaginative re-telling of a fascinating byway of Korean history

Kim Young-ha: Black Flower Originally published in Korean as 검은 꽃 in 2003 This edition Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012, 305pp, Translated by Charles La Shure Black Flower tells the fascinating story of a thousand or so Korean emigrants who sailed from Jemulpo (now Incheon) in 1905 in search of jobs in Mexico, and ended up […]

Kim Young-ha says: Be an artist, right now!

Kim Young-ha’s TED talk on Be an Artist, Right Now!, recorded in July 2010, but only recently uploaded to YouTube. Among other things, Kim speculates on what would have happened if Kafka had shown the first sentence of his Metamorphosis to his father: Had he shown his father, “My boy has finally lost it,” he […]

Jeonju Film Fest to focus on Kim Young-ha

This is the kind of news I like. This year the program of the Jeonju International Film Festival will include “short films based on Korean writers’ short stories, thereby creating opportunities for good Korean literature to be introduced overseas. The focus this year will be KIM Young-ha. KIM Young-ha’s novel, I have a right to […]

Korean authors Shin Kyung-sook and Krys Lee visit Edinburgh Book Fest

We’ve all heard of the Edinburgh International Festival and its fringe; and of the Edinburgh Film Festival. Each year there’s sure to be Korean interest at these events. But this year another festival held at the same time, the Edinburgh Book Festival, together with the World Writers Conference, hosted Korea’s two most famous younger generation […]

Book Review: Your Republic is Calling You

Kim Young-ha: Your Republic is Calling You Translated by Kim Chi-young Harcourt, 2010. First published in Korean: 2006 Ki-yong, a North Korean agent, has lived undercover in Seoul for half his life. Inactive for the last 10 years, he is suddenly given an order to return home. Is the order a hoax? Is he being […]

Suicide Notes – a brief review of Kim Young-ha’s I Have the Right to Destroy Myself

Kim Young-ha: I have the right to destroy myself Originally published 1996 Translation by Kim Chi-young, Harcourt, 2007 An entertaining book to read, but somehow difficult to distill and digest. The narrator, who makes a macabre living as a self-employed suicide counselor, bizarrely seeks out clients whose exits he facilitates. A small and eccentric cast […]