Showing posts with label Korea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Korea. Show all posts

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Inconvenient Daughter

Lauren J. Sharkey is a writer, teacher, and transracial adoptee. After her birth in South Korea, she was adopted by Irish Catholic parents and raised on Long Island. Sharkey holds an MFA in Creative Writing & Literature, and her creative nonfiction has appeared in the Asian American Feminist Collective’s digital storytelling project, First Times, as well as several anthologies including I Am Strength! and Women under Scrutiny.

Inconvenient Daughter, Lauren's debut novel, explores the questions surrounding transracial adoption, the ties that bind, and what it means to belong.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Guest post: Yongsoo Park

Yongsoo Park is the author of the novels Boy Genius and Las Cucarachas, as well as the essay collection The Art of Eating Bitter: A Hausfrau Dad’s Journey with Kids, about his one-man crusade to give his children an analog childhood. Born in Seoul, he grew up in NYC. Boy Genius was a Notable Title Selection for the 2002 Kiriyama Prize, and Las Cucarachas was a finalist for the Asian American Literary Award.

Rated R Boy Life is a memoir about how life in NYC wasn’t what Yongsoo envisioned it to be when his family moved there from Seoul in the summer of 1980. The streets are filled with homeless people. The subway is covered in graffiti. Older kids on his block push him around and force him to do things he doesn’t want to do. But the biggest legacy of such a move, of course, was that for the rest of their lives, he and his family were haunted by doubt and longing for what they’d left behind and what might have been.

So, over to Yongsoo...

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Backlist books: The Nine Cloud Dream by Kim Man-jung

Backlist books is a column by Lucy Day Werts that focuses on enduring, important works from or about Asia.

This post is about The Nine Cloud Dream, also known as The Cloud Dream of the Nine, a celebrated novel written in seventeenth-century Korea but set in ninth-century China. Often compared with Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, the novel follows one man on a journey to discover the meaning of life according to a mixture of Confucian, Taoist and---most importantly---Buddhist ideals. His fate is entwined with the fates of eight gifted, beautiful and otherworldly women in a kind of alternate reality. The story is thus a kind of collective dream of nine individuals.

See below to find out what you need to know to decide whether you should read The Nine Cloud Dream, or what you should know about it even if you never do!

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Exciting writing from Korean: in this post, Nicky Harman talks to noted translator from Korean, Sora Kim-Russell (김소라)


Sora, how did you get started in literary translation?

I started out translating short stories, but my big break was with Shin Kyung-sook’s novel, I’ll Be Right There. It was a big project, too. A long, sprawling novel by a major author whose previous translation, Please Look After Mom, had made the bestseller lists. But it wasn’t actually the first novel I’d translated.

The first was City of Ash and Red, by Pyun Hye-young, which finally got published this year. It was a long wait, but in a lot of ways I’m grateful for that. It was a tricky novel to translate, and the long path towards publication gave me plenty of time to go back, rethink my approach, and revise.

Can you tell me a bit about contemporary Korean literature? What's the most exciting trend that you can see?

I think the most exciting trend is the increase in self-avowed queer writers. That is, we’ve seen queer-themed poetry and prose in Korean literature, dating back to its very origins, but not many publicly queer-identified writers. That has been changing.

The other thing I would add is that while Korea is typically seen as having a homogeneous, conformist culture, its modern literature—at least, the parts of it that I’ve read—has always been diverse, outward-looking, and grappling with questions of identity and selfhood. For instance, it’d be easy to assume that Korean literature from the 1950s wouldn’t have much to say about race, or that there’s no way a novel published back in 1909 would feature a queer relationship, and yet there they are.

Friday, 10 May 2019

500 words from Tina Jimin Walton

500 words from…is an occasional series in which novelists talk about their latest novels.

Tina Jimin Walton's debut historical novel for young adults, Last Days of the Morning Calm, is now in bookshops.

Tina is a Korean-American writer based in Singapore. She loves researching historical events, and enjoys stories that empower and encourage youth. She writes what she would have liked to read when she was young.  While she was working on Last Days of the Morning Calm she took an MFA in creative writing.

Last Days of the Morning Calm is set in Korea at the end of the nineteenth century. Fourteen-year-old Ji-nah, whose parentage is obscure, and Han, a seventeen-year-old servant, are left in the tight grip of Tutor Lim, when the head of their household, Master Yi, travels to Peking. Tutor Lim strips Ji-nah of all her privileges, and crushes Han's hopes for the future. When the two young people discover he is plotting with the Japanese to overthrow Queen Min, whose fate seems tied to Master Yi's, they determine to save her. Their plans go awry when Tutor Lim sells them off as slaves: Ji-nah to the palace and Han to the missionaries.

So, over to Tina...