SEOUL, June 29 (Korea Bizwire) – “Doubting whether I could really write well was the biggest obstacle I had to overcome. I tried to remember that I was desperate to write every time I felt that way.”
Han Kang, who recently won the Man Booker International Prize for fiction with her novel “The Vegetarian”, sat down for a talk with Shin Hyung-chul, a literary critic, which was broadcast live on Naver TVCast on Tuesday, June 28. He had asked her whether she ever wanted to quit writing when financial hardship or other personal circumstances were too much to handle.
She also added, “The desperation I had was what motivated me to write without thinking too much about the outcome.”
“If the situation became too bad, I had to go make a living. I can’t just sit down and write all day, to be honest. I had to use spare time in the morning or on the weekends to write, if I had energy,” she added.
Shin also mentioned how Han suffered from pain in her hand that kept her from writing, though she has fully recovered now.
Shin also asked, “When do you ever feel lonely as a writer?” and she said, “Writing actually helps me forget the struggle and loneliness of life I constantly have to fight. It’s the hiatus that brings me more agony.”
“Writing ‘A Boy is Coming’ was what kept me going as I found answers to so many questions I had about the world full of pain and anguish. I realized why we have to live after reading a short prayer written by a night school teacher who died during the Gwangju Uprising. It said, ‘God, why do I still have conscience that stabs me and hurts me?’ Ever since then I wanted to focus more on the dignity of the human race instead of its violence.”
Han told the audience she enjoys listening to music and visiting museums. “Artwork always inspires me and gives me good energy,” she said.
She concluded the talk by emphasizing her fondness for Wim Wenders’s film “Pina”. “I wish there was a separate theater dedicated just to this movie. It’s a biographical film about a contemporary dancer named Pina Bausch, and it’s an incredible piece of work.”
Han’s award-winning novel recounts the story of Yeong-hye, a typical housewife in South Korea, who stops eating meat after having a troubled dream. The novel was translated into English by Deborah Smith, a 28-year-old British translator, and was also adapted into a Korean film that was played at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010, according to The New York Times.
By Nonnie Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)