News&Events

More Than Just a Wave: Foreword by Phillip Kim
Sometimes, you just get lucky. When we at the Asia Literary Review set out together with LTI Korea in early 2015 to produce a volume dedicated to translated writings by and about millennial Koreans, we had no idea how fortuitous our timing would be. At the time, very few international readers knew anything about author Han Kang or her translator Deborah Smith. But, like the hallyu wave that preceded it, an irrepressible force was building in the form of The Vegetarian . The buzz about Han’s novel was palpable in literary circles and bookstores across the UK and beyond. Countless...
In the News: Ko Un Honored by Italy’s Fondazione Roma
K o Un was conferred with the Fondazione Roma’s annual award during the Ritratti di Poesia festival on February 3, making him the first Asian to win this award. Previous laureates include Adam Zagajewski, Jacobo Cortines, and Carol Ann Duffy. Ko Un’s poetry collections have been translated into twenty-seven languages, east and west. English editions of his books include Ten Thousand Li ves; Maninbo: Peace & War ; First Person Sorrowful ; Himalaya Poems ; and What?: 108 Zen Poems . He has received several prestigious awards, such as the Golden Wreath Award at the 53rd Struga Poetry Evenings in...
In the News: Ashes and Red by Pyun Hye Young Chosen as Poland’s Book of the Year
Translated and published with LTI Korea’s support, Ashes and Red by Pyun Hye Young was chosen as the 2016 Book of the Year by the literary website, Granice.pl. This is the first time a Korean novel has been chosen since The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Hwang Sun-mi, which was selected as the Book of the Year in the children’s books category in 2012. Critics rated Pyun’s book as “reminiscent of the works of Camus and Kafka who depicted our absurd lives” and as “the most interesting book published in 2016.” Philippe Picquier published the French edition of...
Setting the Translation Numbers Right
When I first created the Translation Database at the Three Percent website*, my main motivation was to get some sort of handle on how many translations were being published in the United States in a given year. For ages, people had cited the “three percent” figure, claiming — without any hard data — that only three percent of all books published in America were originally written in another language. This is a powerful number, helping craft a narrative about American isolationism and the need for increased funding for literature in translation, but it was also a statistic based on estimates...
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The Beauty of Literature Blooms from Adversity
On the outskirts of Seoul there is a village dedicated to the great writer Hwang Sun-Won, and every autumn literary events are held there. This year scholars and translators gathered to engage in intense discussion regarding the challenges faced when translating his works. Serving as the MC for this seminar I was able to ruminate on the intense linguistic awareness to which Hwang Sun-Won held fast throughout his life. He was a writer who mastered a concise and yet elegant style of prose, and created a beauty in his sentences at once poetic and precise. Like the contemporary writer Han...
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Greetings from the Publisher by Kim Seong-Kon, president of LTI Korea
Recently, Koreans were greatly encouraged and elated by the news that The Vegetarian had won the prestigious Man Booker International Prize. Thanks to the prominent novelist Han Kang and her outstanding translator Deborah Smith, Korean literature is now receiving its fair share of attention from the international community. A few months ago The Times Literary Supplement carried an article entitled, “A Glittering Korea.” In it, while comparing the two Koreas, Toby Lichtig writes, “But away from the escapee memoirs, famine histories and book-length speculations about the robustness, politically and gastrointestinally, of the youthful Dear Leader, it is the South that...