The Korea Herald


Seoul International Writers’ Festival to shed light on literature’s role in post-pandemic era

Thirty-three writers from 16 countries to participate under the theme, ‘Awakening’

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : Sept. 26, 2021 - 15:21

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Poster for the 10th Seoul International Writers’ Festival (SIWF) Poster for the 10th Seoul International Writers’ Festival (SIWF)
The lingering pandemic has brought about uncertainties on how to engage in dialogue with others, but communication between writers and readers will carry on at the 10th Seoul International Writers’ Festival, scheduled to be held from Oct. 8 to 24.

A total of 33 writers -- including 16 national writers -- from 16 different countries will join this year’s festival to share their views on the role and duties that literature will hopefully serve in the post-pandemic era, under the overarching theme, “Awakening.”

Unlike last year’s event which had to take place solely online, this year’s festival is expected to be partially held on site, the Literature Translation Institute of Korea announced on Friday.

The event, sponsored by the Culture Ministry, is jointly hosted by LTI Korea, the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, the Seoul Design Foundation and Incheon International Airport Corp. The Educational Broadcasting System supported the festival’s overall content production.

Throughout the 17 days, special film screenings, a radio session called “writers’ attic,” and a series of multilanguage reading sessions will be held in addition to discussions and debate sessions with writers, critics and readers in the literary circle. A wide range of topics such as environment, gender, genre fiction, science fiction and youth literature will be covered.

Scene from a film by director Goong Yu-jeong, based on writer Kim Kyung-uk's short story, Scene from a film by director Goong Yu-jeong, based on writer Kim Kyung-uk's short story, "Big Brother" (SIWF)
To mark the opening day of the festival, novelist Han Kang, who won the Man Booker International Prize in 2016 for “The Vegetarian,” will speak to Mariana Enriquez, an Argentine novelist and journalist whose hard-hitting work has shed light on Latin American feminism.

As for the closing session of the event, Choi Yoon, author of “Skinship,” a story collection on the dynamics and struggles of Korean American families, will be joined by David Grossman, an Israeli writer who was awarded the Man Booker International Prize in 2017 and has had his works translated into 30 different languages.

In addition, influential writers in the literary scene around the globe, such as Ken Liu, a Hugo Award-winning American author of science fiction and fantasy, Yun Ko-eun, winner of the 2021 Dagger Award, and Max Porter, an English writer, bookseller and editor, will also take part in the festival. 

In commemoration of the 10th year of the festival, the organizers have produced four short films based on the works of national writers. The films will be screened at Dongdaemun Design Plaza from Oct. 9 to 10.

The Seoul International Writers’ Festival, launched in 2006, was a biannual festival until it expanded to an annual event last year.

The festival schedule, including short-film screenings, and ways to participate can be found at the official website,

By Kim Hae-yeon (