The 2010 Seoul International Writers’ Festival will kick off its five-day run on Monday in Seoul and Jeonju, featuring 24 renowned writers in and outside of Korea in a way that highlights their representative works and provides a rare venue for Korean readers to check out the latest literary trends.
The festival, organized by the state-run Korea Literature Translation Institute, will take place in multiple locations, including the House of Literature (www.imhs.co.kr), Somerset Palace Seoul (www.somerset.com), Baerlin (www.baerlin.co.kr), Jeonju Hanok Village (www.hanok.jeonju.go.kr), and Seoul International Book Fair (www.sibf.or.kr).
“In a world where borders are diminishing, I hope this festival will be an opportunity for writers, from Korea and from around the world, to embrace a wider world and to share their hearts,” said Kim Joo-youn, president of the KLTI.
The events include public readings, free talk forums where writers share their thoughts on literary themes, a tour of Jeonju Hanok Village and book signing sessions at the Seoul International Book Fair at COEX.
The festival is part of the Korean government’s efforts to help Korean and foreign writers share their ideas and form networks in order to broaden the base of Korean literature.
What’s notable are the profiles of the participating writers. Twelve Korean writers range from up-and-coming novelists to veteran writers; their foreign counterparts are equally renowned.
One of the foreign guests is Min Jin Lee, who made a surprising debut with her novel “Free Food for Millionaires,” which won her a New York Times Editor’s Choice award and Wall Street Journal Book Club Selection. It made it to the top 10 novels of the year for the Times of London, was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air and in USA Today. The Korean-American writer, who is currently living in Tokyo, is working on her second novel, “Pachinko,” and Korean readers, already familiar with her work through the Korean edition of her fist novel, will be able to meet her at the forthcoming festival.
Another notable foreign writer is Junot Diaz, the author of “Drown” and “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” which received the Pulitzer Prize. He is serving as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S.
Leena Elisabeth Krohn, who will pay her fist visit to Seoul, is widely recognized as a leading writer in Finland, with about 30 books under her belt. Her books have been translated into 15 languages including Korean, and she did the artwork in several titles herself.
Other writers such as Hallgimur Helgason from Iceland, Andrey Kurkov from Ukraine, Maja Lee Langvad from Denmark are also expected to provide fresh perspectives concerning their unique literary themes.
As for the Korean writers, Kim Ae-ran, an award-wining novelist known for her playful and yet thought-provoking style, will meet with foreign writers as a member of the younger generation.
Other Korean writers include Bae Suah, Park Hyoung-su, Jeong Chan, Pyun Hye-young, Kim Min-jeong, Kim Haeng-sook, Choi Seung-ho, Ra Hee-duk, Kim Nam-joong, and Kim Hye-jin.
Signing up for the reading and free talk events are available at online bookseller Yes24 (www.yes24.com) and for further information about the festival, call (02) 6919-7722.
By Yang Sung-jin (firstname.lastname@example.org)