One of the cool things the Korea Literature Translation Institute does is put out a quarterly magazine called LIST. It’s aimed at overseas publishers and introduces them to Korean fiction that would be good translation/publication material.
It’s out this summer, and KTLIT is in it with Charles Montgomery’s Sometimes You Have to Laugh: The Lighter Side of Korean Fiction (there is an excerpt below).
It also features some work from one of the folks over at Subject, Object, Verb, the story From Ashes and Red, by Pyun Hye-young.
Most interesting along the authorial line, however, is the inclusion of Park Min-gyu, for whom there seems to be some pressure building for translation. The Translator and I have done some translation of his work, which we’ll post here shortly. For now, you can
read an interview here (Link Rotted) or read a brief excerpt of Pavane for a Dead Princess here (Link Rotted).
Here’s an excerpt from my short piece on translated humor.
There is quite a bit of character-based humor in Korean literature. Often, that humor helps readers understand Korean cultural elements in the stories they read. There is a saying in English that, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down,” and it applies to these kinds of stories. Choe Chong-hui’s Chom-nye explores the difficulties of post-war peasants, and features a clever and rapacious shaman who uses the death of a bride to swindle the mourning family out of all the dead women’s goods and the families’ sole remaining chicken. There is also Chon Kwangyong’s brilliant Kapitan Ri, an excellent summary of the first 50 years of the 20th century in Korea, the main character of which is a highly amusing bad guy. When humor is fused into these meaningful stories, Korean literature becomes more easily accessible.