Last year the stars seemed to align somewhat for Korean literature in English translation. We saw Han Kang’s The Vegetarian translated by Deborah Smith winning the Man Booker International Prize and a swathe of new titles were published in the UK and USA.
The LTI Korea restyled and renamed their quarterly magazine _list and are now providing a much better online offering with Korean Literature Now, which is also available in print for anyone who wishes to subscribe. The magazine includes critiques and commentary, reviews and news, and most important of all translations of poetry and prose, many of which are as yet unavailable in bookstores.
An update to the Koreana magazine website means that there are now many short stories available online without a log-in, and in a wider range of languages than you will find anywhere else. Stories like The Street Magician by Kim Jong-ok, Plaza Hotel by Kim Mi-wol, Everyone Loves Girls’ Generation by Lee Young-hoon, and The Wayfarer Never Rests on the Road by Lee Ze-ha.
There have also been more gems of short fiction and excerpts cropping up all over the web. Here are just a few:
- An excerpt from The Law of Lines by Pyun Hye Young translated by Sora Kim-Russell
- Aficionados by Jung Young Su translated by Anton Hur
- I Like It Here by Ha Chang Hoon translated by Jason Woodruff
- Genesis by Jeon Sam Hye translated by Anton Hur
- Ascending Scales by Kim Ae Ran translated by Jamie Chang
- Say Ah, Pelican by Park Min Kyu translated by Jenny Wang Medina
- Lament by Han Yujoo translated by Janet Hong
On top of all this FREE Korean literature in English, a few blogs have been covering Korean literature more intensively recently.
Tony’s Reading List has a three-part guide on Korean literature for beginners.
London Korean Links is keeping on top of new book publications.
And the Los Angeles Review of Books has a growing collection of articles on Korean literature, such as these on where to start reading Korean literature in translation, an update on the cultural blacklist, Korean literature in the post-colonial era, and the forces that have shaped Korean literature in translation.