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K-Literature Introduction

Publications of Korean Literature in Translation

The International Communication Foundation actively supports the publication of translated Korean literature and since 1982, in association with YBM (formerly Sisa-yong-o-sa), has published over 230 volumes of literary works, including poetry, traditional three-verse Korean Sijo poetry, full-length novels, short stories, and collections of dissertations on Korea’s traditional culture.

ICF, through its publication and cooperation with universities abroad, is playing a leading role in the dissemination of Korean literature. As part of these efforts, ICF made a donation to the Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea), formerly known as the Korean Literature Translation Fund. ICF and LTI Korea share the same goal of promoting high quality translations of Korean works to a global audience.

In April of 2004, Professor David R. McCann, the director of the Korea Institute at Harvard University, published a collection of translated poems by Korea’s most prominent poets entitled, “The Columbia Anthology of Modern Korean Poetry.”

In 2005, Professor Bruce Fulton published the translated novel by one of Korea’s master literary authors, Hwang Sun-won, entitled “Trees on a Slope” which was originally published in Korean in 1960.

Korean Literature Symposiums

The International Communication Foundation hosted several events to introduce Korean literature outside of Korea. In these events, researchers of Korean literature are invited to express their ideas and suggestions on how to promote Korean literature to a worldwide audience.
By discussing their teaching and research methodologies, participants get the opportunity to benefit from each other’s expertise. They are encouraged to find effective ways to place quality Korean literature translations in international publications.

In the symposium held in 2014, participants included a number of scholars teaching and studying Korean literature in North American universities, such as Harvard University, University of Washington, University of California at Berkeley, University of British Columbia(Canada) and University of Toronto (Canada). Presenters and other participants appreciated the many discussions and idea exchanges made at the venue.

Editorship of AZALEA

To promote Korean literature abroad, AZALEA was first published in 2007. This annual magazine is distributed in Korea and overseas.

The journal is highly acclaimed by Korean literature majors as well as readers in the U.K. American universities, including Harvard University, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Michigan, Duke University, University of Minnesota, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign use the journal as a textbook for Korean literature classes. Many university libraries subscribe to the journal, demonstrating AZALEA’s commitment to deliver Korean literature to the world.

AZALEA not only features translations of literary works but also includes photos, pictures, illustrations, and interviews, so English readers have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with contemporary Korean literature and its cultural and artistic background. Furthermore, AZALEA is a useful source of information which helps publishers learn for the first time about contemporary Korean literature.

Korean Literature Translation Workshop

Hosted by Seoul National University and the University of British Columbia, the Korean Literature Translation Workshop promotes an in-depth understanding of Korean literature and its excellence.

The workshop was organized to facilitate the expansion of Korean literature overseas by providing opportunity to talented translators who are capable of producing high-quality translations, to come together and discuss Korean culture and literature, and to raise the standards of Korean literature translation. The first workshop was held at Seoul National University in 2008.

2012 marked the 5th Korean Literature Translation Workshop. Participants included Korean authors and publishers, scholars of Korean literature, and aspiring translators. The workshop offered a forum for these groups to share their various views on issues ranging from the difficulty in dealing with certain Korean expressions, to the larger issues of ways to correctly interpret texts.

Reading Tour of America Featuring Contemporary Korean Authors

The “Reading Tour of America Featuring Contemporary Korean Authors” started as an event to further promote Korean literature abroad, and since 1999, a total of 21 well-known Korean authors have participated.

Two Korean authors whose works have been translated into English are selected and they visit five to six cities across the U.S and Canada. The reading tour consists of two sessions: one is the author reading where the authors read their work in front of an audience; the other is panel discussion where the authors promote Korean literature and freely exchange opinions with other members of the panel and the audience.

The reading tour is held at universities that offer degrees related to Korean literature, and the audience is mostly professors, students, and those who are interested in Korean literature. During the reading tour, the authors also participate in the American Translators Associations Annual Conference to interact with American and Canadian authors and promote Korean literature.
So far, famous Korean writers including Choi In-ho, Park Wan-suh, Yun Heung-gil, Gong Ji-young, Yang Gui-ja, Ha Seong-ran and Han Yu-joo have participated in the event. The reading tour is a major success that has drawn the interests of literary researchers and readers abroad.