Korean Literature: Past and Present
When: Tue 8 Apr 2014, 18.30-20.00
Where: Staff Restaurant, British Library
Price: £5, (£4 Over 60s) and £3
A rare opportunity to learn about the story of Korean literature, from beautiful early printed books, many housed in the British Library, to the vibrant contemporary scene. Present will be one of the finest Korean novelists, Yi Mun-yol, who’s translated titles include The Poet and Our Twisted Hero. He talks to Grace Koh and Brother Anthony of Taizé about writing in a culture which is both time-honoured and hyper-modern.
- Yi Mun-yol, was born in Cheongun-dong in Seoul and attended prestigious Seoul National University, studying Korean Literature. From 1994 to 1997, he taught Korean language and literature at Sejong University. Since 1999, he has served as the head of Buak Literary Center. In 1999, he was awarded the Ho-Am Prize in the Arts. Yi was also a visiting scholar at the Korea Institute, Harvard University.
The author of over thirty best-selling books including Song of the Front, Our Twisted Hero, The Poet, and An Appointment with My Brother, his early life was marred by discrimination after his father defected to the North during the Korean War. The main theme in his writing is the abuse of political power and its effect on the morality and consciousness of the Korean people, often drawing from his extensive autobiographical sources.
- Grace Koh is Lecturer in Korean Literature at SOAS, University of London, where she convenes the MA Korean Literature and MA Comparative Literature programmes
- Brother Anthony of Taizé, known as An Sonjae in Korean was born in Truro in 1942 and studied at Oxford University. He joined the monastic community of Taizé in France and was invited to Korea in 1980 by Cardinal Kim, Archbishop of Seoul, becoming a naturalised Korean citizen in 1994 . He was Professor of English Language & Literature at Sogang University from 1985 until 2007 and began translating modern Korean literature in 1988, including the The Poet and The Son of Man by Yi Mun-yol and seven works by Ko Un. In 2008 was awarded the Order of Merit for Culture by the Korean Government.
This event is in partnership with the British Council as part of the Korea Market Focus Cultural Programme at The London Book Fair 2014.