Festival explores Korean literary history

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Festival explores Korean literary history

On Seonyu Island in the south end of the Han River, a book festival opens today to explore the long literary history of Korea.

The Daesan Foundation and Hangang Project Headquarters are holding the 2010 Hangang Literature Festival until tomorrow.

The festival is an opportunity to explore Korea’s literary history in one place - and get tips on what to add to your reading list.

Seonyu Island has been transformed into an ecological and educational park. It was the site of a water purification treatment plant that provided drinking water to southwestern Seoul until 2000.

“It is the perfect place to hold a literature festival in the sense that literature clears your mind so you can live an insightful and meaningful life - just as the old water treatment plant makes water clean and drinkable,” said Kwak Hyo-hwan, manager of the Daesan Foundation.

Daesan said it hopes the literature festival will attract more people to books who otherwise wouldn’t consider themselves big readers.

“In preparing for this festival, the foundation wanted to show the general public that literature is not something that’s hard to understand, but can be enjoyed by people of all ages,” said Kwak.

Visitors to the festival will be able to take a “literature hike” along a path, where flags highlighting historical events in Korean literature will be put up.

For students, there will be a creative writing competition. When given a subject - “Azaleas” by Kim Sowol, a famous contemporary poet, is one example - students cooperate to create a piece that reflects what they have learned and felt that day.

“They can make a newsletter, draw a picture or write another poem. Everything is on the table,” said Kwak.

A treasure hunt is available for children, designed to teach the history of Korean literature.

Adults can enjoy famous writers who are scheduled to make an appearance. Park Bum-shin, the award-winning writer, will give a reading.

Other writers will give lectures and host walking tours around the island.

As a subprogram to the literature festival, poets will give readings at the Hangang Poem Festival, while acting groups will act out the pieces.

Visitors are welcome to enter the poem writing competition about Seonyu Island on Sunday, and the selected poems will be published in a book called “The Best of Hangang Poem Festival.”

Nine artists will commemorate the 100th anniversary of modernist Korean writer Yi Sang’s birth with a special exposition.

For more information, call (02) 323-3997, or go to www.hanganglf.net.

Admission is free. To get to Seonyu Island, go to Seonyudo Station, line No. 9, exit 2.

By Lee Sun-min [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]

Children look through books at last year’s Hangang Literature Festival on Seonyu Island, Seoul. Provided by Daesan Foundation
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