Renowned Korean writers will meet their fans and share their views on literature and nature on the scenic trekking courses in Jeju Island through a rare program that combines literature with green tourism.
Munhak Sarang, a literary event organizer, said the "Green Literature Tour" program will provide a fresh chance to appreciate the beauty of nature and its relation with literature against the beautiful backdrop of Jeju Olle (www.jejuolle.org), one of the best known walking courses in Korea.
"This program will help readers experience nature and literature at a deeper level together with renowned writers," said Kim Ju-yeong, an award-winning novelist and chief director of Munhak Sarang, at a news conference in Seoul last week.
Kim will head the first tour with veteran actress Ko Doo-sim and mountaineer Eom Hong-gil, covering the first three trekking courses of Jeju Olle between Sept. 10-12. Poet Chung Ho-sung will lead the second tour for the next three courses, followed by similar programs guided by mountain climber Eom in November and novelist Park Bum-shin in December.
Each program has a three-day schedule that includes a dialogue with writers, reading sessions, official lecture hours and other special events centered upon literary themes.
"I`m quite excited about the possibility of discovering a new path that is only available outside of the inked paper," said poet Chung Ho-sung, referring to the program`s combination of literature and nature.
Novelist Park Bum-shin said the trekking program is also a good opportunity for writers to communicate with their readers directly. "For most professional writers, readers are often conceptualized, making it hard to gauge the actual reaction. I think this gap might be narrowed through the tour program that will allow me to connect with readers by walking together," Park said.
Organizers said the Green Literature Tour will expand into other famous trekking routes across the nation in a bid to help local governments promote their cultural and natural assets associated with Korean literature.
"The Green Literature Tour is part of our efforts to develop a tour program based on storytelling, targeting both Korean and foreign travelers," said Lee Jae-kyong, executive director at the Korea Tourism Organization, which co-sponsors the programs.
About 215 kilometers in length, Jeju Olle has 12 trekking routes the hidden roads of the island and it takes between three to six hours on average to complete a single trail. "Olle" is a Jeju word for a narrow pathway that is connected from the street to the front gate of a house. The word also has the same sound as "Would you come?" in Korean, so Jeju Olle sounds the same as "Would you come to Jeju?"
Jeju Island, located 130 kilometers south of the Korean Peninsula, is covered with dark-brown volcanic rock and soil. Scenic beaches, waterfalls, cliffs and caves combine to make Jeju an ideal place for walking.
The first trail route of Jeju Olle was set up in 2007 by former journalist Suh Myung-sook, who got inspired by the world-renowned the Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James), an 800-kilometer walking route in Spain. She and other volunteers restored old paths, found lanes that cars cannot access and created new roads for hikers to explore.
The Green Literature Tour is co-sponsored by airliner Jinair Co., Kyobo Bookstore and Daum Communications, while Paradise T&L, a travel agency, helps organize the overall program.
The application for the first tour is due Sept. 5, and for further information, visit www.paradisetour.co.kr or call Munhak Sarang at (02) 2266-2132.
By Yang Sung-jin