Kim Young-ha will rejoin the internet; has new translation coming

Kim Young-ha 김영하

Kim Young-ha (김영하)

The Korea Herald is reporting, by way of a semi-interview, that Kim Young-ha will soon be rejoining the internet, at least with respect to his podcast (in Korean).  Also, next year will feature an English version of his work,   “Black Flower,” (2003) which won the Dong-in Literary Award in 2004 and has already been translated into French and German.

Kim, as is his personal habit, is conservative when discussing the current situation of Korean literature in translation:

“Honestly, Korean writers, including Shin and I, still have a long way to go. I haven’t noticed any big buzz around Korean literature in New York yet,” Kim told The Korea Herald.

And makes the salient point that real (marketing)  success will have been achieved when Korean translation are found in airport bookstores. It is true, however, that Kim and Shin’s successes have had a marked impact on the sales of other Korean translations, at least in the Jimoondang series, which spiked nearly 25% after Shin’s work was published (Interested readers can find a docx and ppt which at their ends, document this spike, here).

Kim says that he will not resume twittering, making the amusing observation:

“Since I quit tweeting, I could think about issues as long as I wanted. To speak about certain things is like opening the lid of a pressure cooker even before the rice is fully cooked,” Kim said.

“When I see a movie or read a book, I can create chemical changes of the content within me by rolling them inside me. If I speak about them too quickly, they are consumed too quickly. So, I’m not coming back to Twitter.”


Kim also takes a sideways shot at Korean creativity, noting that average Koreans, though quite technological, tend not to be content creators. He ends up with a quote about his writing that certainly includes a mis-translated last line:

“I don’t think I’ll be able to write a masterpiece, but I just want to do good to myself, just as people like to give good and beautiful things to their children,” he said.

“I try to do valuable things, meet good people a lot and share hearts. Then, I’ll find myself aged.”