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 […]

Gwangju, 40 years on

Brother Anthony is using the time of social distancing to good effect, updating his website with many valuable materials. In readiness for the 40th anniversary of the Gwangju uprising, he has “translated some poems about the victims in Gwangju, written by a poet whose work nobody dares publish” any more. You can find these on […]

Mi-ae Seo: The Only Child

Seo Miae’s The Only Child is the latest thriller to come out of Korea, following on the heels of Jeong You-jeong’s Good Son and Kim Un-su’s The Plotters. Seo debuted in 1994 with the short story 30 Ways to Kill Your Husband and won the GrandPrize for Korean detective fiction with the Dolls Garden. She […]

Book review: Christopher Lovins on King Chŏngjo

Thus far this year I’ve been focusing on literature in translation. As I wait for the next major wave of publications to hit the shops, I’ve turned my attention to non-fiction. And the first title I reached for was Christopher Lovins’s King Chŏngjo: An Enlightened Despot in Early Modern Korea, which came out in paperback […]

Online lecture: Samsung Rising

Let’s hope there are more of these to keep us interested while stuck at home. Instructions for joining this free Zoom conference can be found on the RASKB website. And while you’re there, join as a member if you haven’t already. Geoffrey Cain will be talking about his book Samsung Rising which was published last […]

The rise of Korean sci-fi

There’s a nice feature in yesterday’s Korea Times on the rise of Korean science fiction, with an interview with the leading lights behind the Science Fiction Writers Union of the Republic of Korea. I’ve enjoyed dipping into the collection of K-sci-fi in translation Readymade Bodhisattva that came out last year. It whetted my appetite for […]

April 2020 home-bound activities

Hmmm, well I think probably not much will be happening this month out in the public spaces. So your home entertainment and researches can include any of the following: On screen Catch up on all those classic Korean films that you’ve been meaning to watch for ages. I’ve compiled an index of the free-to-view Korean […]

Review: Kim Yideum – Blood Sisters

Kim Yideum: Blood Sisters Translated by Jiyoon Lee Deep Vellum, 2019, 202pp Originally published as 블러드 시스터즈 by Munhakdongne, 2011 I seem to be on a roll with translated fiction this year. Two disappointments (Marilyn and Me and Kim Jiyoung), but now seven that are highly recommendable. I picked this novel off the reading pile […]

Book review: Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Cho Nam-joo: Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 Translated by Jamie Chang Scribner, 2020, 163pp Originally published as 82년생 김지영, Minumsa, 2016. Kim Jiyoung, as the blurb on the back cover of this translated novel tells us, is every woman. Her given name is unremarkable, familiar, and of course her family name is the most common in […]

Book review: Jeon Sungtae – Wolves

Jeon Sungtae: Wolves Translated by Sora Kim-Russell White Pine Press, 2017, 196pp Originally published as 늑대, Changbi Publishers, 2009 Jeon Sungtae’s Wolves takes us to another world – the world of Mongolia in the early years of this century, a decade after the adoption of capitalism. The country is modernising rapidly, but out on the […]

Review: Bae Suah — Untold Night and Day

Bae Suah: Untold Night and Day Translated by Deborah Smith Jonathan Cape 2020, 152pp Originally published as 알려지지 않은 밤과 하루, Jaeumgwa Moeum, 2013 Let me say up-front that I have never regarded myself as a Bae Suah fan. My first encounter with her – Highway with Green Apples – registers in my memory as […]

Book review: Marilyn and Me

Ji-min Lee: Marilyn and Me Translated by Chi-young Kim HarperCollins / 4th Estate 2019, 176pp Originally published as 나와마릴린, 2009 “Where did all the beautiful and hopeful young women go?” That was the thought that occurred to author Ji-Min Lee, looking back at the grim post-war years, and looking at a couple of photographs from […]