Korean literature in translation

It’s been ages since we last had an essay contest. If I remember right, we’ve had two that have been specifically targeted at UK-based readers: back in 2009 we had one based on Ch’oe Yun’s There a Petal Silently Falls, and then the following year we were asked to digest Park Wan-suh’s Who ate all […]

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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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Book review: Han Yujoo – The Impossible Fairy Tale

by Philip Gowman 13 November 2017
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Han Yujoo: The Impossible Fairy Tale translated by Janet Hong Graywolf Press, MN, USA 192pp / Tilted Axis Press, UK 352pp / 2017 Originally published as 불가능한 동화 (pub 문학과지성사, 2013) Sometimes, I like having my brain stretched when reading a book: something to get stuck into, to make me think. But there are limits. I […]

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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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Event news: Kim Kyung-ju poetry tour

by Events Editor 2 August 2017
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Kim Kyung Ju will be visiting the UK this month with his translator, Jake Levine, to take part in the events below. Kim’s first work to be published in English is I am a Season That Does Not Exist in This World, published by Black Ocean last year. His two plays and another poetry collection […]

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Event news: Hwang Sok-yong introduces Familiar Things at Asia House

by Events Editor 19 July 2017
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Hwang Sok-yong will be heading down to London from the Edinburgh International Book Festival to talk about his latest novel to be translated into English: Hwang Sok-yong: A Modern Tale of Poverty Asia House | 63 New Cavendish Street | London W1G 7LP August 17, 2017, 18:45 – 20:00 £10, Conc £8, Members £5 | […]

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Event news: Han Yujoo launches The Impossible Fairytale

by Events Editor 21 June 2017
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Tilted Axis Press, LTI Korea and The Asia Literary Agency present Han Yujoo talking about her newly translated novel: Metafictional Murder in South Korea Free Word Centre | 60 Farringdon Road | London EC1R 3GA | www.freewordcentre.com Monday 10 Jul 2017, 6:45pm – 8:00pm | Book tickets Join one of South Korea’s hottest young authors to launch her […]

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Event news: Translation Pitch — East and Southeast Asia

by Events Editor 4 June 2017
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English PEN, the Free Word Centre and the Asia Literary Review bring together six translators to pitch their translation projects. For Korea, Jason Woodruff pitches Kim Soon’s The Shoe – an exploration of recent history via art restoration – and Sophie Bowman presents Kim Boyoung’s I’m Waiting for You – a series of love letters […]

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A Korea focus in this week’s TLS

by Philip Gowman 27 May 2017
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This week’s Times Literary Supplement (26 May 2017) contains no fewer than four Korea-related article-reviews: Min Jin Lee on Bandi’s The Accusation (Serpent’s Tail) (LKL review here), JM Lee’s The Boy who Escaped Paradise (Norton), Yi Mun-yol’s Meeting with my Brother (Columbia) and Jieun Baek’s North Korea’s Hidden Revolution (Yale) Houman Barekat on Han Yujoo’s […]

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Book review: Waxen Wings

by Philip Gowman 4 May 2017
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Waxen Wings: The ACTA Koreana Anthology of Short Fiction from Korea Edited by Bruce Fulton Koryo Press, 2011, 238pp There are plenty of anthologies of Korean translated fiction available, and many of them are edited and / or translated by Bruce Fulton, usually with Ju-Chan Fulton involved in the project too. I recently enjoyed the […]

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Book review: Song Sokze — The Amusing Life

by Philip Gowman 24 April 2017
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Song Sokze: The Amusing Life Translated by Se-un Kim Dalkey Archive, 2016, 233pp Originally published as 재미나는 인생, Kang Publishing Ltd, 1997 The most recent book to be discussed at the KCC’s monthly book club was Song Sokze’s The Amusing Life, a collection of around 50 short “stories”. None of these pieces will detain you […]

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Modern Poetry in Translation – the Korean issue

by Philip Gowman 26 March 2017
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The latest volume of Modern Poetry in Translation magazine has a focus on Korean poetry. The subtitle of the issue is The Blue Vein – a reference to a line from Kim Hyesoon’s work included in the volume. “Every morning the sky, the blue vein slaps you hard.” The extract is from Kim Hyesoon’s latest […]

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Event news: Poetry reading by Don Mee Choi

by Events Editor 21 March 2017
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After this evening’s poetry reading in the Coronet Theatre’s wonderful Print Room in Notting Hill Gate, Don Mee Choi will be giving another reading at SOAS, tomorrow evening. She promises she will be wearing a special costume for the occasion, at which she will be reading from her 2016 work, Hardly War. Poetry reading by […]

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Book review: Bandi — The Accusation

by Philip Gowman 16 March 2017
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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 […]

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Event news: an evening of poetry by Don Mee Choi and Denise Riley

by Events Editor 2 March 2017
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Looks like an interesting evening, celebrating the work of a Korean and a British poet, and marking the launch of Modern Poetry in Translation‘s Korean edition. Poetry @ the Print Room Print Room at the Coronet | 103 Notting Hill Gate | London W11 3LB | www.the-print-room.org 21 March 2017, 7:30pm | £10 | Book […]

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Book review: The Future of Silence – Fiction by Korean Women

by Philip Gowman 27 February 2017
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The Future of Silence: Fiction by Korean Women Translated and Edited by Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton Zephyr Press, 2016, 193pp When an unexpected book-shaped package landed on my doormat in April 2016 I eagerly opened it, wondering what was inside. I was slightly less enthusiastic when I discovered that it was a collection of short stories […]

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Event news: Deborah Smith on translating Bae Suah

by Events Editor 22 February 2017
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Deborah Smith’s latest Bae Suah translation, Recitation, is now available in bookshops. This month you have the opportunity to hear some of the challenges of translating it, courtesy of SOAS’s Centre for Translation Studies: Close to a State of Linguistic Weightlessness: On Translating Bae Suah Dr Deborah Smith (Korean-English translator, Publisher/Editor at Tilted Axis Press) […]

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