Ten prominent South Korea writers will attend the Korea Market Focus cultural programme at the London Book Fair 2014.
The delegation of participating writers includes Vietnam War veteran, political dissident and novelist Hwang Sok-yong, whose best known work is The Guest; novelist Yi Mun-yol, known for his novel Our Twisted Hero (Hyperion Press); Kyung-sook Shin, the first Korean and first woman to win the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2011 for her novel Please Look After Mother (Phoenix); poet Kim Hyesoon, and webtoonist Yoon Tae-ho.
The LBF’s Market Focus Author of the Day on Wednesday 9th April will be Hwang Sun-mi, children’s writer and author of modern fable, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly (Oneworld), who will participate in seminars, talks, book signings and photo opportunities across the fair.
The writers will explore themes including the literary imagination, change in Korean society, the role of the family in Korean literature, digital innovation in literature and Korean literary traditions.
Amy Webster, international and market focus manager at LBF, spoke of the multi-platform appeal of the Korean authors attending, saying: “As publishers are now leveraging content across many platforms, it is exciting to see a number of this year’s featured authors have books that have been adapted for film, and also write specifically for the web, which adds an exciting new dimension to an already well-anticipated programme.”
The British Council, now in its seventh year as strategic partner to the LBF, has curated the programme in partnership with The Literature Translation Institute of Korea. British Council director of literature Cortina Butler said she anticipates that the programme “will have a lasting impact on appreciation in this country of the strength and depth of contemporary Korean literature”. The president of Literature Translation Institute of Korea, Kim Seong-Kon, said he believed it would “play an important role in promoting cultural understanding between Korea and the UK”.
The cultural programme will carry on until October 2014, with Korean writers participating in UK literary events and festivals throughout the rest of the year. These will include events at Asia House, British Library, Cambridge Literary Festival, Edinburgh City Libraries, Korean Cultural Centre, London Review Bookshop and Wales Literature Exchange.
Programme activity up until now has included a trip for six UK writers to Korea in September 2013, a study trip for Korean literary professionals to the UK in November 2013 and a trip for six UK literary editors to Korea in November 2013.