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KLTI Forum promotes Korea through literature

Since 2009, the Korea Literature Translation Institute (KLTI) Forum has served as a platform for dynamic discussions that bring together Korean authors, literary critics, scholars and experts. Organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, this year’s forum is set to generate dialogue on Korean literary works across institutions in six countries, including the U.S., France, Spain, Germany, China and Japan.

2011 KLTI U.S. Forum (April 27 to May 2)

With the success of the English translation of Shin Kyung-sook’s “Please Look After Mom,” Korean literature is gaining momentum in the United States. The Korea Literature Translation Institute hosted its U.S. forum from April 27 to May 2, in close collaboration with the Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles and centers for Korean studies from several universities in California.

(left) President of the Korea Literature Translation Institute Kim Joo-Youn gives welcoming remarks (right) Participants at the 2011 KLTI U.S. Forum (Photo courtesy of the Korea Literature Translation Institute)

Alongside critics and academics from both Korea and the U.S., three distinguished Korean novelists, Kim Joo-young, Choe Yun and Jung Young-moon, participated in the forum. The keynote speech was given by Professor John Duncan, Director of the Center for Korean Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and a discussion session was led by Christopher Hanscom, Assistant Professor of Korean Literature at the UCLA.

The first forum was designed to address three themes: Korea in Korean Literature; Korean Literature and Cinema; and Transpacific Dialogues among Korean and Korean-American Writers. The sessions were held at UCLA, the Korean Cultural Center, and the University of Southern California. The forum wrapped up on May 2, with a session held at the Center for Korean Studies at UC Berkeley.

Speakers and panelists at the U.S. forum with the president (front row, fourth from left) of KLTI (Photo courtesy of the Korea Literature Translation Institute)The first and last day of the forum focused on the theme “Korea in Korean Literature,” and took their inspiration from literary critic Wu Chan-Je’s phrase, “looking to prosperity from within the ruins.” Speakers and panelists traced Korean post-war history by focusing on its social illustrations in Korean literature and diagnosed its rapid transformation from the land of ruins to the economic powerhouse as to host the G20 Summit in less than six decades.

The subject of discussion on the second day was “Korean Literature and Cinema in a Time of Globalization.” Academics specializing in visual culture and literature suggested in-depth analysis of Korean cinema in relation to literature while shedding light on the Korean Wave and its relationship with the American movie industry. In conjunction with the forum, the Korean Cultural Center hosted a free three-day film screening event from April 27 to 29.

The third session was held at USC on April 29. Two Korean novelists, Choe Yun and Jung Young-moon joined Leonard Chang and Nicky Sa-eun Schildkraut in the “Transpacific Dialogue,” featuring bilingual readings of their latest works. The recital, which looked at transnational identities and personal memories in the search for “home,” was followed by open discussion.

2011 KLTI France Forum (May 4 to 6)

On May 4, the Korea Literature Translation Institute kicked off its three-day forum in France. <Meet the Authors> poster for 2011 KLTI France Forum (Photo courtesy of the Korea Literature Translation Institute)This year’s forum comes to a close on May 6, and will be held at a number of venues in southern France, including Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Arles. The forum seeks to elaborate on the theme of Korean literature’s adaptation to the local circumstances, and issues of translation and distribution praxis. Alongside the academic seminar series, the forum includes debates and recitals.

Literary critic Jeong Gwari and Korean novelists Yi Inseong, author of “Into the Unfamiliar Time (Saisons d'exil),” and Jo Kyung-ran, author of “Tongue: A Novel (Mise en bouche),” flew to France to attend.

A significant number of French scholars and professionals are also taking part in the forum. French panelists include Claude Mouchard, Professor Emeritus of Université Paris VIII and second editor-in-chief of the magazine “Po&sie;” Jean Bellemin-Noël, translator and Professor Emeritus of Université Paris VIII; Philippe Picquier, a publisher specializing in Asian literature; and Jörn Cambreleng, Director of the Collège International des Traducteurs Litteraires of Arles.

Participants will exchange their views on challenges and future outlook for Korean literature in France, assessing the current cycle of translation, publication and distribution with the hopes of ultimately widening its presence in Europe.

In addition to the KLTI France Forum, the upcoming Spain Forum from May 16 to 19 aims at laying the foundation for Korean literature in Europe. The KLTI Forum series will also take place in Germany, China and Japan in the upcoming months.

By Hwang Dana Staff Writer


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