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Korean literature entices global audience

Along with the international success of the Korean novel Please Look After Mom by Shin Kyung-sook, Korean literature and its translations have steadily expanded their reach overseas through participating in international book fairs held across the globe.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has teamed up with the Korea Literature Translation Institute (KLTI, www.klti.or.kr) and the Korean Publishers Association to support their participation in leading book exhibitions, including the Guadalajara International Book Fair held at the second most populous metropolitan area in Mexico.

The Korea booth welcomes Mexican readers interested in Korean literature at the Guadalajara International Book Fair (photos courtesy of the Korea Literature Translation Institute).

The Guadalajara International Book Fair, which came to a close on November 30, is one of the most influential publishing gatherings in Latin America, with an attending public of more than 600,000. Each year, book professionals and literary agents hailing from over 40 countries converge in Guadalajara to discover and exchange ideas on new trends in publishing, develop networks, and trade publication and translation rights.

The KLTI, which has been at the forefront of promoting Korean literature through its quality translations, has participated in the Guadalajara International Book Fair for the sixth consecutive year, starting in 2006. For the 25th edition, the Korea booth composed of the KLTI and a number of Korean publishing companies provided a comprehensive overview of Korean literature to the readers and professionals alongside a display of 400 new publications and special editions. The Korea team conducted a set of meetings with Latin American publishers and readers, as well.

The KLTI also hosted a series of events on contemporary Korean literature throughout the book fair. On November 27, Korean novelist Kim Young-ha had a launch party for the Spanish translation of his novel “Tengo derecho a destruirme a mí mismo (I have the right to destroy myself).” The next day, Kim was joined by another Korean novelist Kim In-sook, and they met with local readers and literary professionals alike at the University of Guadalajara. The “Meet the Authors” event continued the following day with high school students at the Instituto Alberici.

(left) Korean novelists Kim In-sook and Kim Young-ha present their work at Instituto Alberici; (right) the KLTI symposium on November 28 draws a throng of professionals and the general public alike (photos courtesy of the Korea Literature Translation Institute).

Following the Mexican book fair, the Korea booth arrived at Salon du Livre et de la Presse Jeunesse, a French children’s and youth book fair. The 27th edition of the Salon took place from November 30 to December 6, in Montreuil, a commune in the eastern suburbs of the French capital.

In recent years, Korean children’s books have been recognized as one of the most appealing categories among publishers abroad and seen a steady increase in publication rights. Translations rights for over 100 children’s picture book have been sold in France with an ever-growing interest on Korea’s children’s illustrated books.

By Hwang Dana
Korea.net Staff Writer

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