[Web Exclusive] Interview with Jin Eun-young: Connecting Hearts and Souls

  • onSeptember 1, 2019
  • Vol.45 Autumn 2019
  • byJin Eun-young



KLN: How do you feel about participating in the Göteborg Book Fair 2019, and what are you going to talk about?

Jin: I’ve never been to Göteborg before. It seems to me that literature is a rather simple form of art. Visiting a book fair is just as appealing and exciting as going to a library. I very much look forward to it.

I will be discussing social-historical public trauma. I will talk about the 304 victims of the Sewol Ferry tragedy that took place on April 16th, 2014. I’d like to consider how literature takes us closer to the anguish of others, and allows people in other corners of the world to share their feelings and experiences.   


KLN: How do you feel about meeting international readers?

Jin: I am delighted and amazed that overseas readers respond to and sympathize with my writing despite the considerable disparity between us. Roland Barthes explains, ‘If you hammer a nail into a piece of wood, the wood has a different resistance according to the place you attack it: we say that wood is not isotropic. Neither is the text…’ It always gives me immense pleasure to observe how people from different backgrounds respond to my works. I will listen to them carefully, so that our interactions through texts and in person will reverberate deep within my soul.


KLN: In each country, literature conveys its own unique social-historical public trauma, which is closely related to the function of art. What voices have you presented in your literary world?

Jin: In preparing for my talk on social-historical public trauma, I read two poems about the Sewol Ferry tragedy, and selected works that had changed my view of literature. In addition, I will present a few others that show the transformation of my perspective towards the world—from the issues I considered in my first poetry collection. I hope to share with readers in Sweden a poem I wrote on the birthday of a girl named Ye-eun, who was in the second year of high school when she fell victim to the Sewol Ferry tragedy. 


English subtitles translated by Helen Cho