Korean literature – podcast from The Guardian in England

London Book Fair 2014 logoWith all the excitement currently fluttering about London’s Book Fair and Korea’s Role as the “star” (as the Guardian puts it!) it is easy to miss all the cool stuff that is happening, and that includes this podcast, rather bluntly titled Korean literature – books podcast, which runs on a little bit long at more than 35 minutes, but is worth listening to for the wide range of topics it discusses. NOTE: This podcast was a little wonky for me in Chrome on a Macintosh. A direct link to the popup is here.. which sometimes works: http://www.theguardian.com/books/audio/2014/mar/28/korea-literature-books-podcast?popup=true

It seems to be a podcast put together irrespective of the “gatekeepers” of Korean literature as it even mentions (gasp!) manhwa!..

I think the Guardian sums it up best (and I can speak with reasonable authority to the point that there reading list is pretty awesome):

As Korea comes to London, with a star turn as the 2014 market focus at next month’s London Book Fair, the Books podcast travels right to the source to investigate the country and its literature.

We meet Yoon Tae-Ho, a star of the booming “manwha” industry, who explains the power of this cousin to Japan’s manga, and how graphic literature is made for the age of the smartphone. Hwang Sok-Yong tells us about his fictional project to exorcise the demons of a divided country, while novelist Yi Mun-Yol explains how his own family history has fed into his work, demonstrating that not all Korea’s defections have been from North to South.

We hear from the Cornish-born monk who has become one of the country’s most influential poetry translators, discover a fable about a brave chicken that has captivated the world and we learn what Korea’s women writers make of family life in a country with the lowest birthrate in the developed world.

Reading list

The Guest by Hwang Sok-Yong (Seven Stories)
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Hwang Sun-Mi (Oneworld)
The Poet by Yi Mun-Yol (Vintage)
Our Twisted Hero by Yi Mun-Yol (Minumsa)
Please Look After Mother by Kyung Sook-Shin (Phoenix)

I’d add something by Kim Young-ha and perhaps something from the Dalkey Collection, but you can’t be more solid than that! And I might not that I am NOT responsible for that rather odd version of Shin’s name, the Guardian did it.^^ Also, the narrator does not really seem to understand the literature… calling the narrator of “Our Twisted Hero” an “anti-hero” is just mad….for one instance..