The London Book Fair Korea Market Focus 2014: Tales from Korea

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Join English PEN for an evening with acclaimed writer Hwang Sok-yong and British novelist Adam Foulds. Hwang Sok-yong will be talking about extraordinary life, experience of incarceration and how he uses folk-tales to convey challenging contemporary themes. This event will be chaired by Boyd Tonkin.

Tickets: £4, book online

Date: Monday 7 April, 19.00-20.00
Venue: Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA

Hwang Sok-yong was born in Manchuria in 1943 and was raised in Korea after the liberation of Korea in 1945. During his teens and twenties, he wandered around in many places. Hwang fought as a soldier in the Vietnam War. He started actively publishing his writing in the 70s, which was a time when Korea was devoted to industrialization under a military anticommunist dictatorship. Far from Home and The Road to Sampo are works that deal with poverty and alienation during this industrialization period. Mr. Han’s Chronicle is about the painful history of the division of Korea. The Shadow of Arms is a reflection that sheds light on the meaning of the Vietnam War. In Jang Gilsan, whose protagonist is a seventeenth-century folk hero, Hwang depicted the resilient vitality of the “people.” This novel was initially published as a serial in a newspaper over a period of ten years during which time it enjoyed a great response from the readers. In 2000, Hwang published The Old Garden in which he engaged the democratization movement in Korea and the aftermath of the fall of socialism in Eastern Europe. Its French translation published under the title Le Vieux Jardin, was selected as “book of the year” by Le Monde in 2006. Also, he adapted Korean folk tales to modern times, to produce works such as The Guest,Shim Cheong, and Princess Bari. The central topics of these novels, which take place in East Asia and the world beyond Korea, are peace and reconciliation. Many of Hwang’s works have been translated and published in France, the US, Germany, Italy and Sweden; 56 titles of his translated works are available across 16 languages.

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