SEOUL, Korea, April 14, 2014 (Korea Bizwire) – The 2014 London Book Fair was held for three days from April 8 to April 10 at Earls Court, London. Korea was the fair’s “market focus” this year, or guest of honor, with its own pavilion at the fair.
This is the first time for Korean publishers to participate in an international book fair as guests of honor since the 2005 Frankfurt Book Fair.
Authors Hwang Suk-young, Lee Moon-yeol, Lee Seung-u, Shin Kyung-sook, Kim In-sook, Kim Young-ha, and Han Kang, as well as poet Kim Hye-soon, children’s book author Hwang Sun-mi and cartoonist Yoon Tae-ho, all took part in the book fair. On April 9, Hwang Sun-mi had the honor of being chosen as the “author of the day” at the book fair.
The honor went to one writer each day during the three-day event. Her picture book, “The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly,” topped the bestseller chart at the Waterloo Station branch of Foyles in London on March 30. “The Investigation” by Lee Jung-myung also became a bestseller at the Trafalgar Square branch of Waterstones on March 6.
Even though the status of Korean literature has been escalated so much for the past nine years since the Frankfurt event, it is still hard to call it a Korean Wave in literature. Shin Kyung-sook, one of the featured authors, said, “I hear the percentage of translated books in the total books published in a year in the United States is only 3 percent. I am sure the ratio for literature books would be much lower than that. It is still so hard for Korean literary books to be published in the Anglo-American market, just like a camel going through the eye of a needle.”
Kwon Se-hoon, executive at the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, said, “Although it’s true the number of Korean-to-English translators has increased in both quantitative and qualitative terms, what’s more important is nurturing Korean studies experts who are capable of discovering and judging good Korean literary works to English readers.”
Written by Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)