Novelist Choi In-hun laid to rest

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Novelist Choi In-hun laid to rest

Writers, literary critics and family members bade their final farewells to novelist Choi In-hun, who died of cancer earlier this week, on Wednesday.

Senior literary critic Kim Byong-ik and some 100 others from the literary community gathered for the final day of Choi’s three-day funeral, at the Seoul National University Hospital. Choi died of colorectal cancer on Monday at the age of 84.

“Professor [Choi] put his entire life into reading, pondering and writing, except the time he spent teaching the next generation,” Kim said in his eulogy. “His life and sublime virtuousness will be a guiding light for people committed to literature,” he said.

Choi’s weeping family members remembered him as a solitary writer who came home as a warm-hearted husband and father.

Choi’s son, Yun-ku, recalled an episode with his father calling him and asking, “Did I make the right choice when I made Lee Myong-jun die like that?”

When Choi was barely able to speak while bedridden in his final days, he uttered a single word ?? character - the son also recalled, saying, “At that time I thought that my father, having lived with literature, is becoming literature, per se.”

Choi’s daughter, Yun-kyung, remembered her father making “Let us love each other” as the family motto when she was still young.

Born in Hoeryong in 1934 in what is now North Korea, Choi is best known for his 1960 novel “The Square,” one of his first literary works that squarely confronted the reality of ideologically-driven national division.

The government posthumously decorated Choi with the first-grade cultural medal, Geumgwan Order of Cultural Merit, in recognition of his literary works.

The writer will be buried at a private cemetery in Ilsan, just outside of Seoul.


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