It was a quick taxi ride from Dongguk University to near LTI Korea and then a two block walk to the front. At which point I realized I hadn’t invited all my readers. so I grabbed a postcard that I mean for all of you:
And then it was inside for a quick chat with the awesome webmaster, Chanwoo (steady ladies, he’s married!^^) during which we ironed out some more details of the Wikipedia Project.
Then it was time to meet Eun Hee-kyung?
Who is Eun Hee-kyung?
Well, she’s a very famous author, at least, and if you had read the lovely Wikipedia page that LTI Korea andKTLIT had put up here, you would know that.^^
She has two works (that I am aware of) translated into English. The most recent is a novella published last year, Poor Man’s Wife, and, yes, that link will take you to Amazon to purchase it. The second work is a short story in a pretty good collection of women’s short-fiction, My Wife’s Boxes in Unspoken Voices] (한국 여성작가 12인 단편선 ). Here are the covers (to the right), for those of you who are visual learners:
While I was waiting, in the lobby I ran into next generation awesome translator Sora Kim-Russell and Korean author Bae Su-ah, so it was quite the night even before the night started.
We finally met at LTI Korea as my hazy picture demonstrates and then headed out to the Italian restaurant that ALL LTI Korea functions seem to end up at.^^ This was fun as Eun has very serviceable English, and what couldn’t be communicated that way was covered by a very skilled LTI intern (who later doubled as photographer) who I came to hate because she can speak Korean, English and French!
We discussed a lot of things, when I asked Eun why she became a writer, she laughed and answered in one word, “Fate.” She also talked about her attitude towards translation, and the fear of it not working, by saying that at a certain point it had to do with trust. She does not try to read her translations in English, and said that, again, she just put her faith in LTI. She added that when she talked to foreign friends they often asked her difficult questions about translation issues, and this made her think that in the future she might think about the translation more.
Also, for some reason the staff at the restaurant seemed to think that Eun looked like she needed sustenance, and when her food came out, it was at least 1.5 times as much food as the next biggest meal. It is difficult to see in this picture, but here the women are at the table:
LOL.. I did mention that although I can’t speak to the fidelity of the translation itself, that her stories read quite well in the versions I had read. On the way back I thought that this might also have to do with the clever way Eun sets up her narrative structures (I will do an upcoming post on this) and how solid the central stories are – in essence, her work seems too solid to mess up.^^
Then it was back to LTI for the actual lecture, which of course I would understand very little of. I sat front and center to take some pictures and impossibly, as you look at the picture to the right, you should realize that Eun is my age.
LOL, I’d like to know her beauty secret!
About 45 minutes of presentation and then questions, with the Korean students doing the typically Korean thing of giving their own 5-minute speeches before asking a question. LOL.. it’s as predictable as summer rain.
After she kept the students spellbound with her answers, I took my turn to go up and get a couple of my books autographed.
Got two autographed, and will give one away sometime in the near future.
The evening ended too early, as the Eun had to head back to her hometown outside of Seoul, and the rest of us were racing to avoid the winter cold.
But it was grand!
And here is the picture of my autographed book!