Sonagi Village has been visited by over 100,000 guests since its doors first opened on June 13th, 2009. After the author Hwang Sun-Won passed away on September 15th, 2000, professors of literature and Hwang’s former students sought to create a cultural space for the nation to be able to share Hwang’s literature with as many people as possible. It was then that they chose a particular line from “Rain Shower” (Sonagi): “The girl was to move to Yangpyeong-eup tomorrow.” In 2003, a partnership between Yangpyeong-gun and Kyung Hee University paved the way for the creation of Sonagi Village.
Recalling One’s First Love – Centennial Anniversary Events
The 100th anniversary of Hwang Sun-Won’s birth was celebrated with a variety of events throughout 2015. The first events of many planned for the year were the “Saturday First Love” concerts. From March through May, a “Literature Night” was held on the last Saturday of each month in the Hwang Sun-Won Literary Center Assembly Hall. Newscaster Grace Pyeon (Pyeon Sojeong) was the emcee for these events, which included deeply-felt poetry readings by the poets Jeong Ho-seung and Choi Myeong-ran, as well as the dulcet tones of a saxophone performance from Son Hyeong-ok, the grand voice of the tenor Choi Yong-ho, and a subtle performance by the guitarist Kim Yeong-su.
The second event was the “Writing a Sequel to ‘Rain Shower.’” Five selected short stories written by Kyung Hee University alumni—Jeon Sang-guk, Park Deok-gyu, Lee Hye-gyeong, Seo Hajin, and Gu Byeong-mo—were published in the summer edition of the quarterly magazine, Daesan Munhak. The authors used their imaginations to create continuations of Hwang’s classic, “Rain Shower.” Jeong Sang-guk’s version, “Harvest,” shows the young protagonist, now in middle school, unable to forget the young girl as he navigates the growing pains that come with puberty. Park Deok-gyu presented “A Person’s Star” which portrays the young girl as a being from another world and shows her travels in the land of stars through a first person monologue. Lee Hye-gyeong brought to life a story where the boy has grown into a young man of the 21st century and is living the life of a laborer in the city all the while keeping alive the memory of the little girl in her piece, “That Uneraseable Muddy Water.” In Seo Hajin’s story “Another Cloudburst,” three years after the girl has passed away, the boy meets another student who resembles her. Gu Byeong-mo wrote his story “Disturbance” about the boy putting the jacket back on that he wore with the girl and going out to the river again a few days after she dies.
The third event commenced with the publication of the five authors’ homages with the opening of the “Writing a Sequel to ‘Rain Shower’ Contest” for all lovers of literature in the month of June. The contest was held for the dual purposes of expanding Hwang Sun-Won’s literature to the public and instilling his literary spirit. There were 121 entrants in the high school division and 195 entrants in the regular division. The judges emphasized that they were looking for “sequels” which had both a sense of continuation from the original, and yet also maintained merit as independent stories.
Drawing One’s Father – 4th Annual Hwang Sun- Won Cyber Writing Contest
The “Hwang Sun-Won Cyber Writing Contest” this year was held for essays, accepting submissions for the duration of May. The contest was part of the 12th Annual Hwang Sun-Won Literary Festival, but it took place four months ahead of the festival which was held in September. The topic for this year’s Cyber Writing Contest was “Father.” There were 227 participants, and with May as “Family Month” in Korea, “Memories of Father” came to mind as writing on this topic allowed contestants to reflect upon the beginning of their lives.