First a Korea Herald article. This one is kind of interesting if you were at this panel, because it only hints at some of the tension involved. Yi Munyeol led off with his comments that he now had a new audience to consider when he wrote. It seemed non-controversial to me:
“About one third of a book is subject to change according to what nationalities I imagine as my readers. So I am pondering to what extent I should write as I used to or consider readers from outside Korea,” said Yi, the renowned novelist especially known for “Our Twisted Hero.”
And he was also, to some extent, talking about the translation process, though largely the writing one.
The agents on the panel seemed ok with that (as sulfur rose from behind their satin cloaks and circled about the horns on their heads^^) , but the other authors bit back hard, pulling something like the “noble writer slaving in isolation” card. It was a bit weird, and to be fair I was listening in translation. But is seemed as though the anti-audience authors (to characterize them rather bluntly) were really saying that the were “anti” audiences they didn’t understand. Or that they didn’t want to be arsed to figure that audience out.
Fair enough, I suppose, but it all seemed a bit Manichean.
The second article in the Korea Times is much more important, because it features an extended (but crunched together from several things I said – or crunched together by my translator) quote from me, and a lovely (meaning it fails to reveal my failure to age gracefully). But what I said was:
Charles Montgomery, a professor at Dongguk University, said that the biggest strength of Korean literature is the “new and unknown.” “When authors like Shin Kyung-sook and Kim Young-ha appear in the media, the joy of the discovery is huge. Now Korean literature, food, video and ‘hallyu’ are coming out all at once into the English-speaking world. They are having an accumulated impact. I think this impact increases because Korea is also in a very interesting time in terms of the Internet and social media,” he said.
If you are here on the peninsula, you can grab the weekend Korea Times and find extended coverage on page 15.
Anyway, the experience was grand and if any of our 13 regular readers see anything else in the press about it, please feel free to pass it on.
LTI Korea put together an awesome conference, and in a daring way.
But that will be tomorrow’s post.