“I didn’t think of foreign readers until my book was printed in English. But now after meeting my fans in other countries, I feel foreign readers have given me a strong energy for my next works,” Shin said at a press conference on Monday.
This is a bit of a change from things she has previously said, in which she kind of minimized the role of foreign readers, or said that she wanted to write essentially “Korean” things. This may have to do with her smashing success, in two ways. First, after the tour she may actually be energized enough to simple mean it!^^ Second, she might now have become enough of a domestic hero to admit an overseas focus – where some previous authors have received domestic criticism for being too “international.”
If she is at all concerned about the latter problem, she does a brilliant job of inoculating herself against the possible charge:
The author realized that Korean literature seems to be fresh to other countries and its status is bigger than we think. “They seem to be looking for an alternative in humanity and community spirit which is richly expressed in Korean literature,” she said.
“I’ve heard the power of literature has dwindled in Korea over the last 10 years. But when I was outside, I felt the power of Korean literature is very dynamic and powerful. Many are interested in it.”
Either way, or neither way if I am speculating well out of my league, it’s good news, because another hit is needed to begin to cement her position as a canonical author, and that’s what Korea needs to get it’s foot in the door of international literature.
And, if you happen to be in Brisbane next week:
Shin will participate in the Brisbane Writers Festival (BWF) from Sept. 7 to 11 in Australia as the only Korean author invited.
BWF is introducing her as “Korea’s national living treasure” and “one of South Korea’s most widely read and acclaimed novelists.”
So, if you’re in Brisbane, drop by and check her out – there is more information at the BWF website.