‘Thousands of Mirrors’ festival to reflect world literature

By Im Eun-byel

Seoul International Writers’ Festival evolves into annual event

  • Published : Sept 17, 2019 - 17:19
  • Updated : Sept 17, 2019 - 17:19

The 2019 Seoul International Writers’ Festival is to take place at Dongdaemun Design Plaza from Oct. 5-13. 

(LTI Korea)

Launched in 2006, the previously biennial event goes annual from this year. Along with the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, which has run the event from the beginning, the Seoul Design Foundation and Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture are co-hosting the event.

“I personally think that this is the new first year for the festival,” said Kim Sa-in, head of Literature Translation Institute of Korea, at a press conference held Tuesday in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul. 

Kim Sa-in, head of the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, speaks during a press conference held Tuesday in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul. (LTI Korea)

“The Seoul Design Foundation and the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture are to share their know-how, experiences and knowledge on communicating with the public through festivals,” Kim said.

According to Kim, the Seoul Design Foundation will allow the Dongdaemun Design Plaza to become the festival’s main venue this year. The Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture is to provide visual contents to effectively deliver literature in means other than reading.

Fourteen writers from 12 countries and 18 Korean writers are participating in this year’s festival, themed “Thousands of Mirrors Reflecting Us.” The festival will consist of 25 official events, including public talks, readings, lectures and discussion sessions, debating issues concerning refugees, gender, diaspora, humanity, anger and more.

Though the DDP will be the hub of the festival events, additional events will be spread throughout Seoul, taking place at independent bookstores and culture complexes.

Among the participants are Forrest Gander, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry with “Be With,” Nicolas Mathieu who won the 2018 Goncourt Prize with “The Children Who Came After Them” and David Szalay, who was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker award for “All That Man.” Participants from Korea include writers Kim Keum-hee, Moon Chung-hee, Bae Su-a and more. 

Writers David Szalay (left) and Moon Chung-hee (LTI Korea)

“The three institutions have agreed that the festival should not be a collection of private conversations between writers and readers in closed rooms, but should be open to the wider public in the form of a true festival,” Kim said.

“This festival should be more than just about Seoul, or Korea, but should create meaningful agendas and messages concerning the future of international literature.”

For more information, check the festival’s official website at

By Im Eun-byel (