Recitals in Germany showcase Korean literatureDRESDEN, Germany - Prior to the Frankfurt Book Fair to be held in October this year, distinguished literati from South Korea have been invited by officials in Germany to give book tours and recitals of their work. At the Erich Kastner Museum in the historic city of Dresden, the lecture hall was jam packed with people attending a documentary film showing the life and works of Korean authors Lee Ho-chul and Yun Heung-gil.
The first book recital by South Korean writers began on March 14 at the museum and will continue on sporadically until the Frankfurt Book Fair begins. The book tours and recitals were planned because South Korea has been chosen as the guest of honor at the fair. Sixteen of South Korea’s leading literary giants including Lee Ho-chul, Koh Eun, Lee Moon-youl and Hwang Suk-young are traveling around Germany this month and visiting major cities to give recitals and hold discussions with readers. This is part of an effort to bring about German interest in Korean literature. On March 17, the Leipzig Book Fair began, which is the biggest cultural event in Germany in the first half of the year.
Lee Ho-chul said, “[The recitals] are significant because they enable a meeting between South Korean authors and the German public.”
Chin Hyung-joon, professor of Hongik University and organizer of the tours said, “The book tours allow a two-way dialogue between Korean and German writers and critiques.”
German journalists who attended the recitals of Mr. Lee said, “To most Germans, Korea is an unfamiliar country. The recital provides us with a chance to get to know Korea better.”
During a feedback session, the audience asked literature questions regarding unification of the Korean peninsula such as “What are the roles that writers can play in the process?”, “When will unification occur?”, and others. Mr. Yun said, “It is not the duty of the writers to provide a method for unification. However, writers can contribute to unification by ceaselessly raising the subject of the pain of war and the homogeneity of the nation.”
The German moderator of the joint book recital of Mr. Lee and Mr. Yun said, “Perhaps because of the common historic background of being a divided country, Germans will begin to show growing interest in Korean literature.”
From April to September this year, 62 more Korean writers will visit Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin on book tours in order to open doors to Korean literature.
by Yoo Kwon-ha