Interviews

Boys, Be Yourselves: Novelist Eun Hee-kyung
By shedding conventional expectations of age-appropriate behavior, author Eun Hee-kyung explores individualism and acceptance in her recent works. Eun Heekyung has written 10 books since her literary debut 16 years ago. Her body of work includes four novels and six short story collections. From A Gift from a Bird (Munhakdongne, 1996), which depicts the adult world seen through the suspicious eyes of the precocious 12-year-old narrator, to Secrets and Lies (Munhakdongne, 2005), the story of two intricately interwoven families over the course of three generations, Eun has excited her readers by always experimenting and trying something new. While each new...
Chong Hyon-jong, A Poet Who Steals the Air
On a toasty, sunlit afternoon, could there be anything more perfect than interviewing a poet? This is just wishful thinking, but if I could capture the poet Chong Hyon-jong’s departing laugh on this page, I would just stop writing. He has a fierce gaze but a wholesome laughter. Chong was born in Seoul in 1939. Since his literary debut through the journal Hyundae Munhak in 1965, he has published poetry collections including The Dream of Things ; I Am the Uncle-Star ; Like the Ball that Bounces ; So Little Time to Love ; Blossom ; Trees of the World...
Lee Seung-U, a Korean Author Beloved in France
“A moving, weighty novel that has emerged from a quiet, serious soul” – Le Monde “A great novel in which abundant, powerful images have brought to life the mythical dimension of love” – Le Figaro Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, the 2008 Nobel Laureate for Literature, has a deep affection for Korean literature. During his year-long stay in Korea as a visiting professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, he held book readings with Korean authors on several occasions. At the press conference after the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony, he stated that “Korean literature is quite worthy of the Nobel Literature...
A Writer of Perennial Youth: Novelist Park Bum Shin
Park Bum Shin calls Cholatse , The Mapmaker , and EunGyo as the ‘trilogy of yearning.’ In Cholatse , the author describes the limitation of humans’ vertical willpower against the backdrop of the Himalayas. In The Mapmaker , he portrays the horizontal yearning of a dream by tapping into historical time. In EunGyo , he finally returns to reality, exploring and chronicling the innermost human desire and its origins. Reporter You Yong-joo and novelist Park Bumshin The Korean peninsula has joined the subtropical climate. Gone is the rainy summer monsoon; Korea is now said to be divided into the wet...
In Tune with the Times: Novelist Gong Ji-young
The popularity of Gong Ji-young in Korean society goes beyond imagination. More than simply a novelist, she is a socio-cultural icon whose every move is regarded with interest by the public. Her novels and essay collections become bestsellers without fail. In addition, there is very little separation between the author’s life and her works. As a result, the interest of the readers often leads to their support of the dramatic life of the author. Reporter Shin Junebong seeks to reveal what it means to Gong herself that “the distance between the author’s life and her works is close,” and what...
An Outsider Within: A Chat with Kim Young-ha
Kim Young-ha is a representative of Korea's new generation of writers. His latest novel to be translated into English, Your Republic Is Calling You , will be published by Harcourt/Houghton Mifflin this fall. On a breezy, borderline windy spring day, I sat down with writer Kim Young-ha at an outdoor café with arguably the longest name in all of Seoul. Located in the Hongik University district well-known for its indie music and club scene as well as its uncountable array of cafés, Look Outside the Window, The Wind Is Blowing, One Day from the North, One Day from the West...
The Indefinable Boundary of Fact and Fiction: Novelist Kim Yeonsu
Kim Yeonsu is a prolific writer, a recipient of many significant literary awards, with a number of faithful readers. His book, World’s End Girlfriend sold 40,000 copies within three months of its publication. JoongAng Ilbo reporter Shin Junebong, met with him. Kim Yeonsu is at present overshadowed by big literary names such as Hwang Sok-yong, Yi Mun-yol, and Ko Un, but he certainly is at the top of the list for the subsequent generation of prominent writers in Korean literature. He was born in 1970, in Gimcheon, a medium-sized city located halfway between the capital city Seoul and Korea’s second...
A Passionate Solitude: The Life and Writing of Novelist Jo Kyung-ran
Poet Whon Jaeheoun interviewed novelist Jo Kyung-ran, whose novel Tongue has been translated and published in eight countries, broadening her international readership. One day in October 2009, I found myself talking to Jo Kyungran’s mother on the phone. Her mother told me that her daughter would return from her writing studio around one p.m. and cheerfully asked me to call back then. I pictured her the way she looked at last year’s Dong-in Literary Award ceremony. Jo writes in her studio all night long and returns home at one in the afternoon. Several days later, I bumped into her in...
Writer, Park Wansuh
Park Wansuh, one of the leading figures in the Korean literary world, has made remarkable achievements both in terms of literary sophistication and general popularity. The JoongAng Ilbo reporter Shin Junebong recently interviewed the woman who has captivated Korean readers with vivid reconstructions of her own experiences during the Korean War and insights into human nature. The poet Ko Un and the novelist Hwang Sok-yong, often cited as candidates for the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the poet Kim Ji-ha, for whom existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre signed a petition demanding his release from prison in 1974, are leading Korean writers...
Waking in Dawn’s Hours, Awaiting the Words of a New Day: Novelist Shin Kyung-sook
Shin Kyung-sook has been faithfully carrying out the role that has been asked of her as a writer. She has restored real characters long overshadowed by history and social issues, more specifically women, to Korean fiction. She has not only pioneered new styles of fiction but has secured a wide readership for them, as seen in the huge success of her latest novel, Take Good Care of Mom. Journalist Han Yun-jeong met with Shin Kyung-sook to talk about her writing and her life. Shin Kyung-sook is an important writer that cannot be overlooked when discussing Korean literature of the 1990s...

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