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 […]

Unexpected Vanilla: Poetry Reading with Poet Lee Hyemi and translator Soje

November’s literature event celebrates a recent publication of poetry by Lee Hyemi from Tilted Axis, translated by Smoking Tiger Soje. Unexpected Vanilla Poetry Reading with Poet Lee Hyemi and translator Soje Wednesday 25th November 12noon-1:30pm (UK time) Zoom videoconference. Entrance Free – Booking Essential Apply to info@kccuk.org.uk with your name and contact details by 4th […]

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 […]

Literary talk with author Yun Ko-eun and translator Lizzie Buehler

The KCC seems to be getting into a nice rhythm of mid-day talks featuring Korean authors and their recent translations. This month, Yun Ko-eun’s Disaster Tourist (밤의 여행자들, 2013. LKL review here). The Disaster Tourist Wednesday 21st October 12noon-1:30pm Venue: ZOOM (Online) Entrance Free – Booking Essential. Apply to info@kccuk.org.uk with your name and contact […]

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 […]

Literary talk with translator Sora Kim-Russell

The KCC’s September literature night is a special event: a Zoom conversation with translator Sora Kim-Russell, focusing on her latest translation to make it into print here, Pyun Hye-young’s The Law of Lines (LKL review here). To make the conversation worthwhile, the KCC expects us all to have read the book in advance. It is […]

Brief review: Kim Sagwa – b, Book, and Me

To answer the obvious question that you’re going to be asked when trying to order this item at your local bookstore, “b” and “Book” are the names of two characters in the novel. We’re not told about how b came by her name, but Book is so called because he spends all his time reading, primarily […]

Book review: Paek Nam Nyong – Friend

When faced with a translation of a book written by a North Korean, based on past experiences you might expect material that’s hostile to the regime. Texts that have been rendered into English tend to be either defector testimonies or an occasional collection of short stories or poems by a dissident writer that have apparently […]

August Literature Night: Seven Years of Darkness

The KCC’s Zoom literature night in August features the hottest thriller of the year. You can read LKL’s review of it here. The normal lottery-based system applies. Seven Years of Darkness by Jeong You-jeong Wednesday 26 August 2020, 7pm RSVP via the KCC’s website by 9 August. About the book A young girl is found […]

July Literature Night: Kim Ji-young Born 1982

July’s literature night features one of the most talked-about books of recent years. If you’re thinking about entering the 2020 literature essay contest, this session might help. Nice that they’re bringing in In-sook Chappell to lead the discussion. LKL review here. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982, by Cho Nam-Joo Wednesday 29 July 2020, 7pm on Zoom […]

The 2020 Korean Literature Essay Contest

I don’t think we’ve had an essay contest since 2017. It’s good to see it return, organised by UCLan for LTI Korea. The contest is open to readers in the UK. 2020 UCLan IKSU Book Essay Contest The International Institute of Korean Studies (IKSU) at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is hosting the “2020 […]

Book review: Jeong You-jeong – Seven Years of Darkness

Jeong You-jeong: Seven Years of Darkness Translated by Kim Chi-young Penguin / Little, Brown 2020 Originally published as 7년의 밤, EunHaeng NaMu Publishing Co, Seoul 2011 It felt like a long wait. We’d seen the movie adaptation a few years ago (Choo Chang-min’s Seven Years of Night, which screened at the London Korean Film Festival […]

Cereal Magazine: special Korean edition

Cereal is a biannual travel and style magazine based in the UK. Each issue focuses on a select number of destinations, alongside interviews and stories on design, art, and fashion. The current edition (#19) for the summer of 2020 focuses on Korea. The volume covers the architecture of Itami Jun, the photography of Koo Bohnchang, […]

June literature night: DMZ Colony by Don Mee Choi

The KCC’s literature nights resume in virtual form after a lockdown break. June’s book is selected for its relevance to the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. DMZ Colony by Don Mee Choi Thursday 25 June 2020, 7pm on Zoom Participation Free – Booking Essential Apply to info@kccuk.org.uk or call 020 7004 […]