The Korea Herald reported, a few days ago, that the Dalkey Archive Press and LTI Korea were about to finalize a list of 25 books to be translated from Korean and simultaneously published in English, beginning with a list of eight authors.
A joint project with Korea Literature Translation Institute, the series will consist of 25 works by Korean authors and poets. O’Brien, who founded the publisher in Chicago in 1984, is known for his preference for “lesser known” and even “avant-garde” works of literature. The company has since moved to Champaign, Illinois.
And such taste is reflected in the pieces selected for the upcoming K-lit series. The featured authors include: Yi Sang (1910-1937), considered one of the most innovative writers in modern Korean literature, and living author Yi In-seong, known for his explicit depiction of human psychology and experimental use of language.
“We were told that Dalkey Archive particularly wanted Korean literary works that can be considered as ‘avant-garde,’” said Lee Yoonie, the coordinator of KLTI’s International Cooperation Department.
Yi Sang is certainly a good start if you’re looking for avant-garde work, and several of the titles are very poetic. At first the start with Yi and the number of books (25) had me worried this would merely be a reprint of the previous Portable Library of Korean Fiction series, but a look at the LTI Korea website (hat-tip to Charles LaShure), reveals that these will be new works, with many already chosen including work by famous poet K0-Un and writers Oh Chung-hee [who has been relatively extensively translated into English, including Chinatown, Wayfarer, The Release (in Chinatown) and Spirit on the Wind (in Red Room: Stories of Contemporary Korean Trauma)] and Choi In-hoon (House of Idols).
이상, 산문집 (Essay Collection)
고은, 두고 온 시 (Poems Left Behind)
이인성, 낯선 시간속으로 (Into the Unknown Hour)
김형경, 성에 (Frost)
최인훈, 회색인 (seemingly the already published “A Grey Man”)
오정희,옛 우물 (Old Well)
박형서, 새벽의 나나 (Dawning Days?)
정영문, 더 없이 어렴풋한 일요일(Very Vague Sunday)
I took the time to contact Dalkey Archive Press, and they say that the remaining works will be chosen within the next “few weeks” (although the LTI Korea website says by June).
Special thanks to 동국대학교의학생 장수희 for helping me with the titles!