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Every year, Litro publishes international editions focusing on different parts of the globe… For this World Series edition, we turn our pages to South Korea. For the past three decades, the South has embraced global culture, becoming Asia’s leading exporter of culture – music, movies, television dramas. Helped by the Translation Institute of Korea, Litro has gathered voices from South Korea to bring you a better understanding of this fascinating region.
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Relive the Korean World Series by buying the magazine – #169 Korea
Writers in this issue include:
- Bae Suah – While a Tibetan Dog Howled
- Anton Hur – How to Write Queer Korean Lit: A Manual
- Mary Lynn Bracht – To the Shore and to life (extract from White Chrysanthemums)
- Kyung Eun You- Where Are We Now?
- many, many, more
Bae Suah is a highly acclaimed contemporary Korean author and translator of German literature, described as “Korean literature’s most unfamiliar being.” She is the author of Recitation, A Greater Music, North Station, and Nowhere to Be Found, among numerous other novels and short story collections. She has introduced authors such as W.G. Sebald, Franz Kafka, and Jenny Erpenbeck, to Korean audiences. She received the Hanguk Ilbo Literary Prize, as well as the Tongseo Literary Prize.
Anton Hur was born in Stockholm and currently resides in Seoul. His translations of Korean literature have appeared in Words Without Borders, Asymptote Journal, Slice Magazine and others. He is the recipient of a PEN Translates award from English PEN, a Daesan Foundation literary translation grant, and multiple LTI Korea translation grants. He teaches writing at Ewha University's Graduate School for Translation and Interpretation.
Yi Sang is the pen name of Kim Hye-kyung (1910–1937), who was originally an architect before he became one of the most controversial figures in Korean literary history. His dark, sensual poems were some of the first Dadaist and Surrealist writing in Korean literature. After being diagnosed with tuberculosis at age twenty-two, he quit his job as an architect to write full time and became friends with notable Korean writers of his day, eventually joining a modernist literary group who called themselves The Nine. In 1937, during his stay in Tokyo, he was arrested by Japanese police for reasons unknown. His disease worsened in the jail cell, and after he was released, he died within a month.
Mary Lynn Bracht
Mary Lynn Bracht is an American author of Korean descent who now lives in London. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London. She grew up in a large ex-pat community of women who came of age in post-war South Korea. In 2002 Bracht visited her mother’s childhood village, and it was during this trip she first learned of the “Comfort Women” captured and set up in brothels for the Japanese military. White Chrysanthemum is her first novel.
Kyung Eun You
Kyung Eun You is a New York-based visual artist and her works are mainly comics and printmaking. She shares personal, at times traumatic, memories and experiences through her short comic stories and prints. Her works have been exhibited and published in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Seoul, Hong Kong and more. Her recent participation includes Art-in-Ed Workspace Residency at Women's Studio Workshop in 2018 and Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program at New York Foundation of the Arts in 2017.
Park Min-gyu (b. 1968) grew up in the industrial town of Ulsan, before moving to Seoul to study creative writing at Chung-Ang University. After stints in the shipping and publishing industry, Park debuted in 2003 with two novels: The Sammi Superstar’s Last Fan Club, about fans of a mediocre baseball team, and Legend of Earth’s Heroes, a parody of the superhero genre. Both works were widely acclaimed by readers and critics, who praised in particular his unconventional narratives that were laced with irony, keen sense of humor, imaginative word play, and emotive lyricism. Park has since gone to published many books and stories, including the short story collections Castella (2005) and Double (2010) and the novels Ping Pong (2006) and Pavane for a Dead Princess (2009). His works have garnered several awards, including the Munhakdonge New Writer’s Award, Hankyoreh Literary Award, Yi Hyo-seok Literary Award, Hwang Sun-won Literary Award, and Yi Sang Literary Award. His full-length works in translation include Pavane for a Dead Princess (Dalkey Archive, 2014) in English, and Pavane pour une infante défunte (Decrescenzo éditeurs, 2014) and Ping-Pong (Editions Intervalles, 2016) in French, and El último club de fans de los Sammi Superstars (Filodecaballos, 2016) in Spanish.
Kangmyoung Chang is a newspaper reporter-turned novelist based in Seoul, South Korea. He made his literary debut in 2011 with his first full-length novel The Bleached, which won the 16th Hankyoreh Literary Award. He has since gone on to win multiple literary awards, including the 3rd Jeju Peace Foundation Literary Prize and the 20th Munhakdongne Author Prize. Chang is known for his love of science fiction and his keen insight into contemporary South Korean society.
Samantha Kim Rogers
Using language to help navigate her Korean-American identity, Samantha Kim Rogers received her MFA in Creative Writing: Fiction from California State University Fresno, and her BA in Creative Writing: Fiction from Arizona State University. She was the 2016 Fiction Fellow at Fishtrap: Writing and the West, and former Senior Associate Fiction Editor for The Normal School: A Literary Magazine. Her work has previously appeared in Storyscape Literary Journal, The San Joaquin Review, and Flies, Cockroaches, and Poets.
Born to a British father and South Korean mother, L.P. Lee grew up somewhere in between South London and South Korea. Her fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, selected for “Best New Horror” and featured in Virtual Futures Salons. Her screenwriting awards include for “Best Dark Comedy” and she will participate in Google’s 2018 Jump Start Program for VR
Janet Hong is an award-winning translator and writer based in Vancouver, Canada. She was a finalist for the 2018 PEN Translation Prize for her translation of Han Yujoo’s The Impossible Fairy Tale. Her other translations include Ancco’s Bad Friends (forthcoming in 2018) and Ha Seong-nan’s The Woman Next Door (forthcoming in 2019).