London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Book review: Bandi — The Accusation

Bandi: The Accusation – Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea Translated by Deborah Smith Serpents Tail 2017, 245 pp Originally published as 고발, Chogabje.com, 2014. Mike Breen, in his book The New Koreans, describes han as “a kind of rage and helplessness that is sublimated and lingers like an inactive resentment” and is often evidenced in … [Read More]

A look back at some of the books of 2016

To cut to the chase, here are my two books of the year for 2016. For more detail, read on. Literature in translation The world of translated fiction seems to have been dominated by two names this year, one Korean and one British. The Korean name of course is Han Kang. Just as The Vegetarian … [Read More]

Anti-Americanism in Democratizing South Korea

This book by David Straub, head of the political section in the US Embassy in Seoul 1999-2002, has just gone onto my wishlist. Reviews by Aidan Foster Carter in the Korea JoongAng Daily and by Bradley K Martin in Asia Times. Available from Amazon.co.uk. Published by Stanford’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and distributed by the … [Read More]

A look back at the books of 2015

In place of our annual “LKL Awards” post, we look at some of the highlights of 2015 in the area of books, film and music. Apart from the field of literature in translation (and of course I’m talking Han Kang here), there are no clear winners or I haven’t covered enough ground to choose one. … [Read More]

Double book review: two takes on Shin Sang-ok

Paul Fischer: A Kim Jong-il Production Penguin / Viking 2015, 353pp Steven Chung: Split Screen Korea – Shin Sang-ok and Postwar Cinema University of Minnesota Press 2014, 262pp The story of actress Choi Eun-hee and Shin Sang-ok combines elements of both romance and thriller as well as representing important phases in the history of film … [Read More]

Event news: APPG meeting and book introduction

Notice of an upcoming North Korea-related event: The All-Party Parliamentary Group will be hosting an open meeting on Monday 14th December. The event will serve two purposes. Firstly, to outline the Group’s recent business and its strategy for 2016. Secondly, to host Daniel Tudor (former Korea correspondent at the Economist) who will introduce his new … [Read More]

Yeonmi Park is Radio 4 book of the week

Yeonmi Park’s refugee memoir In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom is Radio 4’s book of the week this week, airing at 9:45am. If you missed this morning’s episode there’s a repeat at 12:30 tonight, or of course you can listen to it for the next 30 days on the Radio … [Read More]

Yeonmi Park’s DPRK refugee memoir out next week

Yeonmi Park’s defector memoir In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom comes out in a couple of days. It is trailed in this weekend’s Telegraph and her testimony has also been examined in The Diplomat. Italian and German editions will be coming out later this year. According to Aidan Foster Carter, … [Read More]

Book news: Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo

Fashion designer Rejina Pyo has joined with her husband, chef and food writer Jordan Bourke, to produce Our Korean Kitchen, available from 3 September (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £25). Judging by the extract published today in The Guardian, the recipe book is user-friendly, full of welcoming photographs, and adapts traditional recipes to accommodate ingredients available in … [Read More]

Evelyn Glennie’s musical journey in Korea

Percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie has just been in the news for winning the Polar Music Prize 2015 along with Emmylou Harris. The award, according to its website, is “one of the most prestigious and unique music prizes in the world, crossing over musical boundaries and awarded to individuals, groups and institutions in recognition of exceptional … [Read More]

Global Oriental title on Joseon dynasty wins American Library Association award

Congratulations to Brill / Global Oriental books, whose Everyday Life in Joseon-Era Korea was in Choice Magazine’s list of Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014. The book, edited by Cambridge University’s Michael Shin, is a collection of features on various aspects of life in the Joseon Dynasty: Everyday Life in Joseon-Era Korea shows how the momentous … [Read More]