Presentations 3, 4, and 5 all in some way or another focused on social media as a tool for proliferating Korean literature overseas.
Jean Claude de Crescenzo, a Korean Studies Professor from the University Ais-Marseille, runs the online Korean magazine (in French) Keulmadang which attempts to focus on younger authors. The online magazine has an interesting approach – doing an online blogish look, but presenting it in traditional volumed format. This allows Keulmadang to also make print copies, which they distribute in French speaking countries and Quebec. Partly, they feel that this gives the review increased legitimacy.
LOL, I may be the only person who found this amusing, but it seems very existentially French that one section of the speech is titled “The constraints of being.” I think I need an espresso and a Galouisie!
The scheme is expanding, as Keulmadang is also creating a publishing house and producing video documentaries on various writers.
Next came Dennis Maloney from White Pine Press (at least one of whom’s books, The Snowy Road and other Korean Short Stories has been reviewed at KTLIT).
Dennis began by asking if Korean Hallyu actually represents Korean culture, and suggesting that Hallyu has opened the door for Korean literature, and that social media is a way to pry that door more widely open. First, White Pine is building a blogger-based initiative, by which they will provide review copies to blogs that focus on literature, in turn for reviews. Second, and quite exciting from my perspective, they are also retroactively turning works already published into E-books, which will be part of their scheme to engage younger readers. Alongside this, WP will continue to publish Classic Literature and attempt to interest the US market which is already interested in Buddhism.
Finally, and somewhat nebulously (but fabulously!) Dennis suggested a conglomerated approach by publishers of Korean fiction, attempting to lash them together into one bigger single footprint.
Awesomely, as the afternoon went on, staff had to scramble to get more chairs and tables in the room as people continued to wander in. That’s always the sign of a good seminar.^^
Park Jang-yoon, the CEO of Pars Pro Toto, spoke (using a powerpoint that would have earned a C0 in my presentation class^^), talked about the growth of digital publishing and what this might mean for Korean literature. Park discussed some technical details about e-books and literature apps for various hand-held devices, details that can be skipped over here.
Park suggests, quite sensibly, that literature whose original copyrights have lapsed, should be made available for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play, but supplemented with rough historical outlines, explanations, and other additional material that might help foreign readers navigate the cultural differences between English and Korean. He showed an example of what this would look like in the apps.
If original rights have not expired the works should be provided on a paid basis, with free blurbs and examples available. This, of course, will run into the problems that the other panelists have discussed, with authors, agents, and publishing firms. In addition, the big issue remains – who will do all this work to put this together, and who will pay for it?
RANDOM NOTE: COEX has the slowest moving Cafe Bene in Korea, if not the entire world.^^