Han Yujoo (한유주) – Up and coming writer of “Lament” (English) and “My Left Hand Is the King and My Right Hand Is His Scribe” (among others in Korean)

HanYujooAfter a series of emails with Kelly Falconer (All information is from Ms. Falconer unless otherwise indicated) at the Asia Literary Agency , KTLIT has put together a short biography of up and coming writer Han Yu-joo.

Lament can be found here, at Words Without Borders.


Han Yujoo was born in Seoul in 1982. At Hongik University Han studied German Literature and at Seoul National University earned her Master’s degree in Aesthetics.  She also  currently pursues a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature at Seoul National. Han’s debut was in 2003 when her short story To the Moon won Literature and Society’s New Writers Award. The short story “To the Moon” is also the title story of her eponymously named first collection To the Moon (2006). In 2009 Han was awarded the prestigious Hankook Ilbo Literary Award, whose past recipients include the Man Asian Prize-winner, Shin Kyung-sook.

Han currently teaches at the Seoul Institute of the Arts and Korea University’s Department of Creative Writing. She is an active member of an experimental group called Rue and also runs Oulipopress, an independent press. Han is also a translator having translated Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table, Geoff Dyer’s But Beautiful and The Ongoing Moment, among others, into Korean.


To the Moon is a collection of stories about stories and her second collection, Book of Ice (2009), explores the ways in which events that propel fictional narratives can be delayed. Since then, she has published the short story collection, My Left Hand the King and My Right Hand the King’s Scribe (2011), as well as the novel The Impossible Fairytale (2013). Of My Left Hand the King and My Right Hand the King’s Scribe, LIST Magazine (Vol 16, Summer 2012 2 Page 58-1) says:

My Left Hand Is the King and My Right Hand Is His Scribe, continues to deal with [Han’s] issues. Her main interest lies in the question of whether or not language can depict reality, and further, what novels can accomplish. We commonly think that we can understand certain objects and ideas, which comprise reality, through the medium of language. Is that indeed the case? Isn’t the use of language as a medium nothing more than a conventional pattern? And is it not a form of violence to limit the rich possibility of a subject to the narrow frame of language? What, then, can novels accomplish, using language as material? Such questions are not simply about methods of writing, but fundamental questions about the way we understand and reproduce the world. Han Yujoo is a young writer who has been studying this issue with dogged persistence for the past 10 years.