I met with noted author Shin Kyung-sook, writer of the tremendously successful Please Look After Mom (엄마를 부탁해), at the cafe at the Kim Jong-yeong Museum (thoroughly beautiful, by the way), located in Pyeongchang-dong, Jongno-gu. I was with Dylan Goldsby a photographer who was taking pictures for an upcoming segment on Ms. Shin in 10 Magazine, “10 Questions With Shin Kyung-sook,” a segment I had put together. I was there to take pictures to add to Shin’s Wikipedia page (which had been put up a while ago as part of KTLIT’s Wikipedia Project).
Shin arrived with Yeom Hyeon-Sook a representative from Munhakdongne Publishing, and we sat down for an informal photo-shoot and conversation. The first thing I have to note is purely superficial. Dylan and I had pulled up photos of Shin from the Internet, to be sure we would recognize her. These were publicity shots, so we were worried (to be impolite) that they would have had a bit of photoshop done on them – this is standard in the industry and beyond even that in Korea. Happily, Shin does not need Photoshop at all^^ and we recognized her immediately. Shin was graceful and professional as we ordered tea for the shoot and spent about 10 minutes taking pictures.
After this, we talked for about half an hour – general chitchat about Shin’s work and the state of publishing. She mentioned working on a volume of short stories and something I did not know, that in Korea you generally choose hardcover OR paperback when you publish. Fortunately, she said, in the West, she is having both published, with the softcover to come out on April 3rd, for those of you looking to save some won.
But the highlight of the event was that both Dylan and I got our copies of Please Look After Mom autographed and there was much amusement when I asked for her to make it out to 찰몽, which sounds sort of odd in Korean (“sticky mong”), but is how my students simplify my name when they make posters advertising classes.
Finally, as Dylan and I got our backpacks together, our two new acquaintances snuck up to the barista and paid for our coffees!
It was a great time with a great author.