alt
Posted : 2014-04-27 16:21
Updated : 2014-04-27 21:10

K-literature reaches more readers

From top left in a clockwise fashion, the translations of "The Investigation" by Lee Jung-myung; "Secrets" by Eun Hee-kyung; The German version "Geheimnisse und Lugen" by Eun Hee-Kyung; "The Unforgotten War" by Bok Geo-il: "orrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream" by Kim Hye-soon; and "The Jovian Sayings" also by Bok Geo-il. / Korea Times file


Translations become available throughout world

By Chung Ah-young

Following international exposure at the London Book Fair on April 8-10, worldwide interest in Korean literature is gaining momentum.

A slew of translated versions of Korean novels and poems have been published in various countries from the United States to Singapore in an effort to attract a broader readership.

Supported by the Daesan Foundation, poet Kim Hye-soon's "Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream," "The Investigation" by novelist Lee Jung-myung and "Secrets and Lies" by Eun Hee-kyung, are all available as translations in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The foundation has assisted in the translation, research and publication of Korean literature both at home and abroad.

"Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream" was recently published by Action Books in the U.S. The poetry collection was translated by Choi Don-mee, who won the2012 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize for"All the Garbage of the World, Unite!" also written by Kim.

Kim has published three poetry collections through Action Books since 2011, starting with "All the Garbage of the World, Unite!" The Independent, the U.K. newspaper, said, "Kim Hyesoon has broken the rigid gender traditions of Korean poetry. Unconfined by the so-called ‘feminine' subjects of love and loss, she creates a seething, imaginative under- and over-world in which myth and politics, the everyday and the fabulous, bleed into each other. Her enormously energetic poems are full of dizzying transitions and tonal shifts."

Also, the renowned U.S.-based book review website "Hyperallergic" sheds light on the poet through her new publication. "In Kim Hyesoon's third collection of poems translated by Choi Don-mee, the South Korean poet examines the sick, grotesque body and its effects on a nation," it reviewed. The website says that Choi must be credited for her brilliant translations of Kim's work. "In each poem, Choi establishes a commanding cadence that is particular to the tone of each poem."

"The Investigation" translated by Kim Chi-young, renowned for her work on "Please Look After Mom" by Shin Kyung-sook, has reached English-speaking readers through the U.K.'s major publisher Macmillan.

The foundation said that English-speaking readers find the novel interesting because it deals with historical facts while touching on the life of Yun Dong-ju, a famous Korean poet, whose works were produced during the Japanese colonial period (1910-45).

The book revolves around a mysterious murder incident which happens in Fukuoka Prison during the Japanese occupation of Korea. Key clues to the incident are the poems, which involve numerous inmates, including Korean poet Yun Dong-ju. Based on a true story, the book gives gripping accounts of the investigation into the mysterious case.

Lee took part in the London Book Fair and gained the attention of major foreign media outlets. "Lee's story celebrates the power of poetry, of books and of reading, to lend us a ‘sixth sense' that can heal and transform even in the harshest times," The Independent said.

Meanwhile, Eun's representative novel "Secrets and Lies" is now available in German and French. The book titled "Geheimnisse und Lugen" has been published by Ostasien, the German publisher, while Philippe Picquier has released the book titled "Secrets" in France.

The veteran author who has written more than 10 books since her literary debut in 1995, built up her international profile through "A Gift from a Bird," published in France in 2002 and in Germany in 2005. The German and French publishers said that her novel will reaffirm her literary reputation for her sophisticated writing seen through her previous works. "Secrets and Lies" is a tale of two families intertwined with a dead father in a small town in Korea.

Also, Bok Geo-il's English novel "The Jovian Sayings" and play "The Unforgotten War" have been published by the Stallion Press in Singapore. The publisher was founded in 2002 with overseas branches in the United States, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Hong Kong and India. It has published seven translated titles of Korean literary, historical and cultural writings with support from the Literature Translation Institution of Korea (LTI) since 2010.

Bok translated his own original novel, which came out in 2002, into English. "The Jovian Sayings" is in line with his unique science fiction subject, which explores the futuristic settings in the 27th-30th centuries in space which were shown in "Under the Blue Moon" (1992).

"The Jovian Sayings"assembles the sayings of human beings who settle on Ganymede around 2998. They are primarily pithy satires, earthy maxims and lyrical poems, giving a unique look at a frontier society struggling to survive in this extraterrestrial environment. The sayings resonate in societies of the 21st century.

"The Unforgotten War" reflects the author's personal experiences. The author lived near a U.S. military camp in Sintanjin, south of Daejeon until 1988 from his early years, along with his father who ran a drug store there. The play depicts fierce battle scenes from the perspectives of two young U.S. soldiers from Texas during the Korean War.

The writer has released some 40 books, such as literary criticism and essays, since his debut in 1987 with "In Search of the Epitaph."


  • 1. Ninety orgasms per hour leaves Arizona mom exhausted
  • 2. Sexy fitness guru makes TV debut
  • 3. Blackhead extraction video is disgusting and mesmerizing
  • 4. Woman creates smash-hit cuddling service
  • 5. Putin, Kim to make for odd couple
  • 6. IU selected as soju model
  • 7. PODCAST: What's next for N. Korean human rights?
  • 8. Apartment security guards face massive layoffs
  • 9. Finance minister says reform will touch finance, labor sectors
  • 10. S. Korea, China, Japan to adopt joint statement on Ebola fight
Copy editors wanted
Experienced reporters wanted