With Author Choi Myeonghee (Honbul/혼불) in Jeonju (And Hanji!)

Down in Jeonju to check out the Jeonju Hanok Village (which is awesome!) we came across the Choi Myeonghee Literature House. Myeonghee was previously unknown to me, but is obviously important in Korean literature, as the grounds were pretty big, stuffed with kids, a tour, and Yvonne and I. Anyway, we did find it, and looked around, not understanding much. Apparently the Literature House offers classes in making “Literary Postcards,” but at the moment we were there the classes were not in evidence.

Myeonghee wrote 혼불 (Ghost Fire), which is apparently a Korean epic in both length and importance. As far as I can tell, none of her work is yet to be translated into English, although if a reader can disprove that, I’d be happy to hear about it.^^

Anyway, the place was rocking with children, tours, and whatnot…

Also in the Jeonju Hanok Village is the  Hanji Hanok, which creates the traditional paper that authors (and everybody else) used to use to write on.

The traditional 한지, or Korean paper hanok was ultra-cool, as they were creating the paper in a small hanok and we were free to wander in and check it out up close and personal. As the four employees and one grandmother who just kind of walked around the place, worked from creating the paper to stacking and sorting it, we just kind of hung out and watched. The film clip below is of the guy who was, laboriously, washing a bamboo (?) sheet in a vat of water containing paper mulberry inner-bark and then laminating layers of the resulting sediment onto a bit of a birthday cake of hanji.

As we walked to the KTX station, across the big park in Jeonju we also found a smaller Choi Myeonghee park which includes this plaque:


It’s a bit difficult to read, so here is the text:
Choi Myunghee (1947-1998)
Novelist Choi was born in Jeon Ju in 1947 and studied Korea literature at the Jeongbuk University. She made her debut by winning an award in the Jungang Newspaper Newspring literature contest for her short story “Collapsing Light” in 1980. And later, in 1981, she was also awarded on the 60th anniversary of Doangah Newspaper’s opening by her long piece “Honbul (Ghost Fire – the first part)” . Since then, she had poured all her passion and efforts in writing “Honbul” for the rest of 17 years of her life and finally, in 1996, her masterpiece “Honbul” made of five parts, all ten books was published. Se was decorated with an Okgwan order for Cultural Merit by Korean Government when she passed away at the age of 52 on December 11th, in 1998.

 And apparently Cho is also buried here:

 

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