Books

A couple of new books to take with you on your summer break – or, more likely in respect of the first on the list, to adorn your coffee table when you return. First, fulsomely reviewed by Andrew Salmon in Asia Times, comes Inside North Korea by The Guardian‘s architecture and design critic Oliver Wainwright […]

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Book review: Pyun Hye-young – Evening Proposal

by Philip Gowman 9 July 2018
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Pyun Hye-young: Evening Proposal Translated by Youngsuk Park and Gloria Cosgrove Smith Originally published as 저녁의 구애, Moonji Publishing, 2011 After the somewhat gory content of Pyun’s story Corpses – published in the Waxen Wings anthology – in which a woman’s body parts keep appearing, it was with some nervousness that I started reading Pyun’s An […]

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July Literature Night: Kim Young-ha’s I Hear Your Voice

by Events Editor 1 July 2018
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You probably won’t find a better-translated Korean novel than this one, courtesy of Krys Lee: July Literature Night: Kim Young-ha’s I Hear Your Voice 25 July, 19.00-21.00 Venue: Korean Cultural Centre UK Entrance Free – Booking Essential. Apply to info@kccuk.org.uk or call 020 7004 2600 with your name and contact details by Thursday 12th July. […]

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Brief review: Jeong You-jeong – The Good Son

by Philip Gowman 14 June 2018
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Jeong You-jeong: The Good Son Translated by Kim Chi-young Little, Brown Book Group, 2018, 322pp Originally published as 종의 기원, Eunhaengnamu, 2016 A Good Son is one of the books being hailed as the new Scandi Noir, while Amazon is billing it as “The bestselling Korean thriller of the year” – though in a Korean genre that […]

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June Literature Night: A conversation with Kim Aeran

by Events Editor 8 June 2018
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June’s literature night is a special event: a discussion with Kim Aeran about the texts set for the recent essay contest, and the announcement of the winner. A discussion with author Kim Aeran Wednesday 27 June, 18:00-20:45 Venue: Korean Cultural Centre UK Entrance Free – Booking Essential. Apply to info@kccuk.org.uk or call 020 7004 2600 […]

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Book review: Shin Kyung-sook – The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2018
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Shin Kyung-sook: The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness Translated by Jung Ha-yun Pegasus Book, New York, 2015, 369pp Originally published as 외딴방, Munhakdongne, 1995 When reading Ahn Jung-hyo’s White Badge, I found myself wondering why, despite what I thought was my general antipathy to novels with listless central characters who can’t seem to find their way […]

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Litro Summer Literary & Arts Festival ’18

by Events Editor 12 May 2018
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The Litro Summer Literary Festival has a few things of Korean interest, not least of which is the very welcome presence of Krys Lee, who apart from hosting a masterclass on Korean poetry and participating in a panel session on female writers will also be introducing Im Sang-soo’s adaptation of Hwang Sok-yong’s The Old Garden […]

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May Literature Night: Hwang Sok-yong’s The Old Garden

by Events Editor 5 May 2018
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Continuing the KCC’s season of screen adaptations of Korean novels. May Literature Night: Hwang Sok-yong’s The Old Garden 30 May 2018, 19.00-21.00 Venue: Korean Cultural Centre UK Entrance Free – Booking Essential. Apply to info@kccuk.org.uk or call 020 7004 2600 with your name and contact details by Thursday 10th May. The booking system utilises a […]

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Book review: Lee Yil – Dynamics of Expansion and Reduction

by Philip Gowman 25 April 2018
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Lee Yil: Dynamics of Expansion and Reduction Selected Writings on Korean Contemporary Art, 1970 – 1996 Initial draft translations: Chung Yeon-shim, Park Eun-ah, Park Sung-ji Final translations: Paul O’Kane, Song Bada Published by AICA (International Association of Art Critics) / Les Presses du Réel, Dijon, France, 2018, 212pp How often do you read the learned […]

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Book Review: Ahn Jung-hyo – White Badge

by Philip Gowman 20 April 2018
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Ahn Jung-hyo: White Badge Soho Press, NY, 1989, 337pp Originally published as 하얀전쟁, 1983 Translated by the author If I saw Jeong Ji-young’s White Badge (1992) when it screened in London eight years ago, I do not remember it. I cannot imagine having a similar lapse of memory concerning Ahn Jung-hyo’s Vietnam war novel on […]

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Wookwan’s Korean Temple Food – Book Talk and Tasting Event

by Events Editor 11 April 2018
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What a shame this clashes with the opening night of 4482 – Butterfly Effect at the Bargehouse. Nevertheless, this temple food event is sure to be extremely popular, so make sure you get your application in. Yes, note the unusual registration process, which suggests that the attendee list may be prioritised in the event of […]

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27 years of translation: Brother Anthony’s poetry talks in London

by Philip Gowman 6 April 2018
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Brother Anthony’s brief pre-Easter trip to the UK included four talks – in St Andrews, London and Oxford – on themes of poetry translation. Of the two London appearances, one was a detailed hands-on workshop wrestling with a poem by Kim Seung-hee; and the other a wide-ranging talk encompassing the history of the translation of […]

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April Literature Night: Silver Stallion with Ahn Jung-hyo

by Events Editor 30 March 2018
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Ahn Jung-hyo is in town not just to talk about his novel Silver Stallion but also his Vietnam War novel White Badge, which will be screened at the KCC later in the week. We reviewed Silver Stallion ten years ago but that won’t stop us reading it again. Literature Night: Ahn Jung-hyo’s Silver Stallion 25 […]

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Haemin Sunim shortlisted for British Book Award

by Philip Gowman 30 March 2018
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The Things You Can Only See When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim (tr. Chi-Young Kim) has been shortlisted for The British Book Awards in Non-Fiction: Lifestyle category. The full shortlist in the category is as follows: 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver (Michael Jospeh) The Things You Can Only See When You Slow Down: How […]

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Book review: Yi Kwang-su — The Soil

by Philip Gowman 26 March 2018
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Yi Kwang-su: The Soil Translated by Hwang Sun-ae and Horace Jeffrey Hodges Dalkey Archive, 2013, 512pp Originally published as 흙, 1932-3 Yi Kwang-su’s The Soil, at over 500 pages long, is not a book that immediately entices you to read it. But with a screening of Kim Ki-young’s adaptation of the novel coming up shortly […]

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Lee Yil: seminar and book launch of selected writings on Contemporary Korean Art

by Events Editor 12 March 2018
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Artist Bada Song and critic / lecturer Paul O’Kane spent a large part of last year helping to translate and edit an important new collection of mid-to-late 20th century writings of renowned Korean art critic Lee Yil (1932-1997), “the main observer of “Dansaekhwa”, or Korean monochrome”. That work has now come to fruition, with the […]

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Guardian suggests Korean thrillers are the new Scandi Noir

by Philip Gowman 5 March 2018
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It was not long ago that people were lamenting the absence of Korean genre fiction – such as crime and mystery stories – in translation. Well, apparently, things are changing. An article in Saturday’s Guardian talks about a “wave of interest in Korean thrillers” – highlighting the six-figure sum which bought Doubleday the right to […]

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