Chad Post has a great post on the Three Percent blog about what sounded like a very lively panel on Korean fiction during the Pen World Voices Festival held last week.
Entitled, “Word from Asia: Contemporary Writing from Korea,” the panel included Korean novelist Kim Young-ha, novelist Susan Choi, and translator Bruce Fulton. The panelists discussed how the literary scene worked in Korea while Kim Young-ha talked about his novel about a forgotten North Korea.
Bruce Fulton recommended three recent Columbia University Press translations. Here is Chad Post’s summary:
Eastern Sentiments by Yi T’aejun, translated by Janet Poole. These short pieces cover a range of topics and were aimed at preserving a sense of Korean history and culture against Japanese absorption. Tragically, Yi T’aejun moved to North Korea, and since no one really ever heard from him again, he’s most probably dead.
Who Ate Up All the Shinga?: An Autobiographical Novel by Park Wan-suh, translated by Yu Young-nan and Stephen Epstein. Park Wan-suh wrote a ton of novels, but according to Bruce, this book is one of the very best, depicting her life during Japanese occupation and the Korean War.
Lost Souls: Stories by Hwang Sunwon, translated by Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton. Bruce read the opening part of the first story in this collection, which is also the first story Hwang Sunwon ever published. It was a charming story about sexual tension between a young tutor and the girl he’s trying to teach.