The Korea Herald


Kevin Laurence O’Rourke dies at 81

By Im Eun-byel

Published : Oct. 25, 2020 - 18:11

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Kevin Laurence O’Rourke (Kyung Hee University) Kevin Laurence O’Rourke (Kyung Hee University)

Kevin Laurence O’Rourke, a trailblazer of Korean literature translation, passed away Friday at the age of 81.

O’Rourke, who has translated more than 2,000 Korean literary works into English, was a leading foreign figure in the Korean literature scene.

According to Kyung Hee University, O’Rourke was born in Ireland in 1939. He became a Catholic priest in 1963. The following year, he started to serve as an assistant priest at Soyangro Catholic Church in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province.

While serving here, O’Rourke took interest in Korean culture and literature, and was the first foreign national to earn a Ph.D. in Korean literature from Yonsei University in 1982. From 1977 to 2005, he taught at the English language and literature department at Kyung Hee University.

O’Rourke translated numerous Korean literary works including Choi In-hun’s novel “The Square” and Lee Mun-yol’s novel “Our Twisted Hero.”

In 2017, he was the winner of the well-recognized Daesan Literary Award in translation.

The funeral visitation is being held at the Catholic University of Korea Eunpyeong St. Mary’s Hospital in western Seoul. The funeral service is to be held Monday.

By Im Eun-byel (