Bok Geo-il

The Turbulent Life of a Outsider Literary Intellectual


The most thought-provoking conversation I’ve ever had with writer Bok Geo-il took place at the end of the 1990s. At the time, Korea was under IMF trusteeship, a part of history that Koreans will not soon forget. While Korea was undergoing such a devastating financial crisis, I arranged a roundtable with Bok Geo-il through Munye Joongang, the magazine I was afraid with. He was known as an economic expert and a cosmopolitan in literary circles. Another cosmopolitan writer who was visiting Korea, that is, the late translator Lee Yun-gi, was also in attendance at the roundtable. This turned out to be the very place where Bok Geo-il proposed the infamous “English as the official language in Korea” that led to a riotous debate that exploded among cultural and ...