Park Wan-so

Park Wan-so (born 1931) (Hangul: 박완서) is a South Korean writer

Early years

Park Wan Suh (also Park Wan-seo, Park Wan-so, Park Wansuh, Park Kee-pah and Pak Wan-so, Pak Wanso) was born in 1931 in Gaepung-gun in what is now Hwanghaebuk-doin North Korea.[3] Park entered Seoul National University, but dropped out almost immediately after attending classes due to the outbreak of the Korean War and the death of her brother.[4] During the war, Park was separated from her mother and elder brother by the North Korea army, which moved them to North Korea.[5] She lived in the village of Achui, in Guri, outside Seoul until her death.[6] Park died on the morning of January 22, 2011, suffering from cancer.[7]

Work

Park did not publish her first work, The Naked Tree, until 1970, when she was 40. Her ouvre quickly grew however and as of 2007 she had written fifteen novels, and 10 short story collections[5]. Her work is “revered” in Korea[6] and she has won many Korean literary awards including, in 1981 the Isang Literary Prize and in 1990 the Korean Literature award [7].  Park’s early work focused on the tragedy of families separated by the Korean Civil war, and the ongoing damage caused by that war in its survivors is demonstrated in suck works as The Naked Tree, Warm Was the Winter that Year, and Who Ate Up all the Shinga (to which Park has released a second volume, not yet published in English, Was the Mountain Really There). Since about 1980, Park’s work has centered on families, problems affecting women in Korea’s extremely patriarchal sociaty and biting critiques of the middle class[8]. Perhaps the most vivid example of this is in her work The Dreaming Incubator in which a woman is forced to undergo a series of abortions until she can deliver a male child.  Her best known works in Korea include Bad Luck in the City, Swaying Afternoons, Warm Was the Winter that Year, and Are you Still Dreaming?[9].

Park’s translated novels include “Who Ate up All the Shinga” which sold some 1.5 million copies in Korean [10] and was well-reviewed in English translation. Park is also published in “The Red Room: Stories of Trauma in Contemporary Korea “

Partial list of publications in English

My Very Last Possession: And Other Stories
The Red Room: Stories of Trauma in Contemporary Korea
Sketch of the Fading Sun
Three Days in That Autumn
Weathered Blossom (Modern Korean Short Stories)
Who Ate Up All the Shinga?: An Autobiographical Novel

Partial list of publications in Korean

The Naked Tree (Namok, 1970)
The Beginning of Days Lived (Sara-inneun, Nal-ui Sijak, 1980)
Mama’s Stake (Eommanui Malttuk, 1982)
Warm Was the Winter That Year (Geuhae Gyeoul-eun Ttatteuthaenne, 1983)
The Woman Standing (Seoinneun  Yoja, 1985)
Illusion (Mimang, 1990)
My Beautiful Neighbor (Na-ui Areumdaun Iut, 1991)
The Dreaming Incubator (Kkumkkuneun Incubator, 1993)
Such a Lonely You (Neomuna Sseulsseurhan Dangsin, 1999)
A Very Old Joke (Silcheonmunhak, 2000)
Who Ate up All the Sing-a (Woongjin, 2002)

References

  1. ^ “Writer, Park Wansuh. List: Books from Korea. KLTI
  2. ^ Korean Writers: The Novelists. Minmusa Publishing, 2005. (p 213)
  3. ^ “Writer, Park Wansuh. List: Books from Korea. KLTI
  4. ^ “Writer, Park Wansuh. List: Books from Korea. KLTI
  5. ^ Cherished Themes from Park Wan-seo’s Literary Life. Korea Focus. Choi Jae-bong
  6. ^ Colonial Modernity in Korea By Gi-Wook Shin, Michael Edson Robinson p224
  7. ^ Korean Writers: The Novelists. Minmusa Publishing, 2005. (p 212)
  8. ^ Cherished Themes from Park Wan-seo’s Literary Life. Korea Focus. Choi Jae-bong
  9. ^ http://park.org/Korea/Pavilions/PublicPavilions/KoreaImage/e-information/culture/pack.html
  10. ^ “Writer, Park Wansuh. List: Books from Korea. KLTI

External links

Park’s Korean Wikipedia page
A review of “Who Ate Up All the Shinga”
Park Wan-so on AuthorTrek

7 thoughts on “Park Wan-so

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  6. Jesus Christ ! She’s been gone for over five years. She died on 1-22-2011.
    One of my favorite authors.
    Mike

  7. Mike Kim,

    She was a canonical author – her early writing was among the best of the hard/war-times fiction and her pivot to a more modern, feminist subject matter predicted what was to come in Korean fiction as is now being worked out by authors like Bae Suah and Han Kang (Congrats to her for winning the Man Booker Prize!)

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