Huzzah! The new issue of Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature & Culture is out, with special features on South Korean science fiction and Hong Gildong. The translations include stories by Kim Kyung-uk, Kim Jung-Hyuk, Park Min-gyu, Bae Myung Hoon, Han Yujoo, Koh Jongsok, and Seo Hajin.
Full table of contents and info here.
Apparently, Dan Brown’s latest novel Inferno took eleven translators to an underground “bunker” near Milan to translate nonstop for three months. There’s a joke about some monkeys and typewriters (all chain smoking and drinking coffee in my mind’s eye) in there somewhere, but…
From Publishing Perspectives:
Dante himself would have been impressed. For nearly two months, 11 people were kept tucked away in an underground “bunker” near Milan, Italy, (actually a windowless high-security basement at the Milan headquarters of Mondadori, Italy’s largest publishing company, owned by Silvio Burlusconi) where they worked seven days a week until at least 8pm each night; all to translate Dan Brown’s new book, Inferno, into French, German, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, and Portuguese in preparation for its multi-nation simultaneous release on its publication date of May 14.
Here’s a news clip about it, complete with porno-background music (is the news site owned by Berlusconi too?). Dan Brown, iI girone dei traduttori: ”Noi, chiusi nel bunker” – Repubblica Tv – la Repubblica.it (mostly in English, with the Italians unsubtitled as it’s from an Italian news source). Once they get past the sensationalist parts about describing the bunkers, it’s pretty interesting to hear the translators describing their respective approaches to translation, like the one who says he never reads a novel he’s translating beforehand, so he can experience the book as a first time reader would.
I’m also impressed/surprised about the move towards the multinational simultaneous launch of the book, à la blockbuster movies and such. I guess blockbusters are blockbusters regardless of medium these days.
Thanks for the story, Stephen!
Am I an ‘Immigrant Writer’? – NYTimes.com.
I learned recently, to my surprise, that I had written a novel about the immigrant experience. The novel I thought I’d written was simply about a mother and daughter, but the inside flap of the book jacket made it clear I had “written anew the immigrant experience.”
Not that it hasn’t been said before, but well put. And in the interest of essentializing, HE wrote a novel about an Indian American mother and daughter?! What does he know about the female experience?! Hahahahaha.
Seriously, though, does the tag “immigrant experience” necessarily mean it’s “minority literature”? Are they 100% conflated?
I Am Korean American Blog • Dari Project Book Launch!
On May 2, Dari Project will release the first bilingual publication of personal narratives and artwork by LGBTQ Korean Americans.
Written in the tongue of two languages, Dari’s revolutionary and monumental collection of twenty-five personal essays features voices from the Korean diaspora in the U.S.—including adoptees, mixed-race, and transgender Korean Americans—and shares stories of coming out to immigrant parents, addressing homophobia/transphobia in the Korean church, organizing the community after a gay bashing in Koreatown, and more.
New translations of non-fiction prose and poetry from North Korean defectors at wordswithoutborders.com
Translations by Sora!
Oldish news by now, but the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in fiction was awarded to Adam Johnson for The Orphan Master’s Son, a novel set in “the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.” I haven’t read it yet, but there does seem to be a lot of imagining of Korea going on of late.
Here’s a description of the novel via goodreads. At the very least, it sounds like somebody’s seen Pulgasari (which, if you haven’t seen, you should)…
An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master’s Sonfollows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.
Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.
Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like.”
Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, The Orphan Master’s Son is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. A towering literary achievement, The Orphan Master’s Son ushers Adam Johnson into the small group of today’s greatest writers.(less)
I can’t remember if I’ve written about Martin Limón here yet or if I’ve just been meaning to, but his latest book, The Beast from the Western Realms, is out and free from the Kindle Store from today, April 23, to April 25.
I have really liked Limón’s Sergeants Sueño and Bascom Mysteries, a series of detective novels set in and around Itaewon and Yongsan in the 1960s and imagined through Limón’s own experiences as an MP stationed at Yongsan. He’s a great storyteller in person and in his writing, and I’m interested to see how he approaches the Chosŏn period.
The Beast from the Western Realms: Martin Limon: Amazon.com: Kindle Store.
Some info about the book:
Desperate to feed her family, a North Korean woman sells a tattered manuscript to a foreign sailor and a secret tale of intrigue and romance, THE BEAST FROM THE WESTERN REALMS, is revealed to the world.
During the reign of King Sejong the Great, a mysterious man-beast invades the kingdom of Korea, pursued by a Mongol warrior. Soon a battle for treasure and glory engulfs the country and only three people can prevent war with the Chinese Emperor on his Dragon Throne: Clerk Yi, a scribe in the royal court; Inspector Yun, a trusted emissary of the King; and Lady Ahn, a brilliant and determined woman in a land where female accomplishment is both despised and feared. Together they must save their country, save the innocent, and ultimately prevent the destruction of an entire people.
Majoring in English | The Feminist Wire.
Great piece about literature, language, and ethnicity by an English-dominant 1.5-lingual child of immigrants.
To this day, my father has followed my teachers’ suggestions and speaks exclusively to me in English, even though he cannot fully express himself in it. It was my perfect SAT verbal score that earned me the interest of top schools, and it was my minority status that sweetened my deal with many of them. My mother is frustrated by the rejection of my first language, and when she questions me in Spanish, I answer her in English, unwilling to communicate in the staccato rhythms of a song learned half-heartedly. Language is a battleground, and I prefer to fight in the tongue with which I am best armed. That lesson was passed down from my parents. My parents fought to their divorce in Spanish, the language of lovers, and when I was told everything was going to be fine, it was told to me in English, because in English, it doesn’t have to be true.
I’m an English major. It is a language of conquest.
In order to graduate from my college, you must take one course that “actively promotes a self-conscious and critical engagement with diversity.” It’s called the Exploring Diversity Initiative. Columbus called it exploration, too. Michel Rolph-Trouillot called it a sweeter word for conquest. In theory, the goals of exploring diversity–empathetic understanding, critical theorization, comparative studies of cultures and societies, and examining power and privilege– should produce my favorite kind of course, but the conversation shifts depending on who’s in the room. Conflicts arise when students try to map the trajectory of race from Point A to Point B without studying any of the legend. Without realizing that their landmarks may not match mine.
Announcing The James H. Ottaway Jr. Award for the Promotion of International Literature – Words Without Borders.
Words without Borders, a nonprofit and online magazine, has announced the creation of the James H. Ottaway, Jr. Award for the Promotion of International Literature (aka The Ottaway).
Nominees for The Ottaway will be solicited from the large community of translators, authors, publishers, agents, editors, and activists, and the final honoree chosen by a select jury. The Ottaway will not honor a translated work or body of work, but instead honor individuals who have succeeded in furthering literature in translation in the United States.
A special Korea edition of the Asia Literary Review will be available starting on May 8! Get your subscriptions in now.
Volume 23, Spring 2012: Korea
We are delighted to announce the publication of the spring 2012 issue of the Asia Literary Review. It will be in the post to subscribers on 8 May and available in bookshops and online thereafter. Our iPad app and eBook editions launch on the same day.
This issue focuses on Korea, both North and South, and includes an interview with Man Asian Literary Prize-winner Shin Kyung-sook; fiction by Kim Young-ha, Han Yujoo and Park Mingyu; poetry by the pre-eminent writer Ko Un; and an essay by Korea expert Michael Breen.