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  • News Release: Sh..

     Works of Five Writers Short-listed for 2020 Pak Kyongni Prize Bringing Attention to ‘Cultural Solution’ on How Their Literary Works Heal Contradictions and Conflicts of Society   Interview with Kim Uchang, chairperson of The 2020 Pak Kyongni Prize and emeritus professor of Korea University. This article appeared in Dong-A Il-bo, one of Korea';s major daily newspapers.   2020 marks the 10th year of Pak Kyongni Prize and five writers were short-listed for the Prize this year. The candidates include Ben Okri (born in 1959,  Nigeria), Seo Jeong-in (born in 1936, Korea), Yun Heunggil (born in 1942, Korea), Jonathan Franzen (born in 1959, the U.S.), and Hwang Sok-yong (born in 1943, Korea).  Pak Kyongni Prize was established in 2011 by Toji Cultural Foundation to commemorate the late Pak Kyongni (1926 – 2008), who wrote her life-long 20-volume Toji, the epic sage of Korea’s modern history involving generations of a family, The Prize is awarded to a writer with life-long literary achievements evident in the entire body of works by one author, not just a single title of excellence. It is the first international level literary award for writers from around the world. “Writers should not fail to closely link ideological frames such as undeniable experience, society, politics, and history,” Kim Uchang, chairperson of the Committee, said. “Five novelists were shortlisted. They exposed contradictions and conflicts taking place in society and tried to show in their works that they edge toward a solution of cultural bearings with their own unique perspectives, which brought them to the short list of this year.”It is noteworthy that three Korean writers are included in the short list of 2020. The glory of the first 2011 Pak Kyongni Prize winner went to Choi In-hun (1936-2018), Korean writer. Since then, writers from global community have been honored for eight consecutive years. “The 2020 Pak Kyongni Prize Selection Committee has directed its eyes to literary works of Korean writers who tried to seek after a key not only to looking at realities as they were, but to rising above them in the fights and campaigns of Koreans against the Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945, in the independence that followed, in the nationalism, and in the socialism, while being exposed to major, unprecedented historic changes all at the same time that were rarely witnessed around the world,” the chairperson said. Ben Okri is a Nigerian poet and novelist, who is often described as one of the foremost African authors. His major works among novels, poetry, essays and short story collections include The Famished Road (1991), Songs of Enchantment (1993), Infinite Riches (1998), and The Age of Magic (2014). He is widely considered one of Africa’s leading writers. “The Famished Road is his representative work that shows the world of a magical realism, where one world of colony capitalism and the other fantasy, fairy-tale world of unexploited old-growth forest appear at the same time,” Kim Uchang commented. Seo Jeong-in is a Korean novelist. He wrote novels depicting many facets of the Korean society, using sense of humor and ironic tone, through sharply critical conscience of writers, rather than showing how ideologically conflicting or how much confusing the society was. He has written short stories, short story collections, and novels and his representative work, among others, includes Dalgung, Story of Bakdalmak. “Seo Jeong-in brought out works designed to break free of and transcend the history, while using the art of symbolism, existential perspectives, and narrative technique,” the chairperson mentioned. Yun Heunggil is also a Korean novelist. His representative novels, The Rainy Spell (1973) and The Tattoo (2018), depicted a concerted effort of humans working hard to rise above perverted realities of the history as well as the absurdity and a labyrinth of irregularities in life, through tragedies of the Korean War, a myriad of ideological conflicts and the industrialization. “His works plainly show contradictions and conflicts of the traditional society, the pre-industrial society, just the way they were. “Works of Yun Heunggil show the likelihood of reconciliation through emotional, basic bonding that runs deep beneath the traditional Korean society, while revealing the way the things actually were, namely, contradictions and conflicts in the pre-industrial society of Korea,” Kim Uchang, the chairperson, remarked. Jonathan Franzen is an American novelist and essayist. In The Corrections (2001) and Freedom (2010), two of which are also among his critically finest works, Jonathan Franzen described the American society with a broad view through middle income family stories combined with farce and tragedy. He is considered one of highly acclaimed, popular writers in the American literature. His writing encompasses environment, values of sincerity, and many other subjects. Hwang Sok-yong is a Korean novelist. In Strange Land (1971) and On the Road to Sampo (1973), he continuously endeavored to embody the ordeal of Korea’s modern history and the life of the working class. The Three Generations of Railroad Worker (2020), the most recent work, depicts major tendencies stretching over the modernization of Korea under the Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945, liberation campaigns and movement that eventually led up to the freedom in 1945, and socialism movement afterward. “Idea with philosophy and crusade take up the principle of wholeness demonstrated in his novels,” Kim Uchang said. Each year Pak Kyongni Prize Selection Committee is comprised to decide one prize winner. Chairperson of The 2020 Pak Kyongni Prize Selection Committee is Kim Uchang, emeritus professor of Korea University, and the Committee has five other members: Kwon gi-dae, translator; Kim Seung-ok, emeritus professor of Korea University; Lee se-gi, novelist; Yoo Seok-ho, emeritus professor of Yon Sei University; and Chang Kyung-ryul, emeritus professor of Seoul National University. One final winner will be announced on Sep., 17 and the award ceremony will take place on Oct., 24 in Toji Cultural Centre, Wonju city, Korea.&nbs..

  • News Release: La..

    The Pak Kyongni Prize was established by the Toji Cultural Foundation (chairperson, Kim Young Joo) in 2011, with financial support of Wonju City and Gangwon-do Provincial Government, to commemorate the late Pak Kyongni. The Pak Kyongni Prize is the Korea’s very first, international award for writers from around the world and every year honors one novelist of the time who has not only dedicated to upholding the virtue and raison d';être inherent in literature but made an ever-lasting impact in the literature of the world. Previous winners include Choi In-hun (Korea, 2011), Ludmila Ulitskaya (Russia, 2012), Marilynne Robinson (USA, 2013), Bernhard Schlink (Germany, 2014), Amos Oz (Israel, 2015), Ngũgĩ wa Thiong';o (Kenya, 2016), Antonio Susan Byatt (United Kingdom, 2017), and Richard Ford (USA, 2018). Selecting a final winner of Pak Kyongni Prize takes quite a while every year. Starting in June, 2018, Candidate Recommendation Commission for Pak Kyongni Prize has gone through three phases of the assessment process for 350 writers from around the world qualified to meet the requirements of the Prize. Afterwards, the Commission narrowed down its list to 45 candidates. Then, starting in September, 2018, 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize Selection Committee (Chairperson, Kim Uchang) kept on evaluating 45 writers on a longlist and their literature works until April, 2019 and a shortlist of the five candidates was announced in this July. Shortly after, the evaluation of the shortlisted writers’ works continued for two months and Ismail Kadare was chosen as a laureate of The 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize. Pak Kyongni Prize Committee (Chairperson, Kim Young Joo) agreed to the result presented by Pak Kyongni Prize Selection Committee and Ismail Kadare was finalized as The 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize winner. Margaret Atwoon (Canada), Antonio Muñoz Molina (Spain), Eduardo Mendoza (Spain), Yan Lianke (China), and Ismail Kadare (Albania) were shortlisted for The 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize. Born in 1936, Albania, Ismail Kadare is a novelist, poet, and playwright. His first 1963 novel, The General of the Dead Army, the most critically acclaimed novel among many masterpieces of his works, earned him a worldwide fame. He took asylum in France in 1992 and resumed his active life again as a writer in Paris. His works have been published in 45 languages. Many in the literature say he is generally referred to as Literature Ambassador who successfully managed to pull Albania, his home country that had been ruled by foreign powers for around 2,000 years and the Stalinist communism dictatorship, thus being forgotten even in European countries for a long time, out of the oblivion of the history, with the literature power of his works. He is universally considered by critics as one of the greatest writers of our time. He was awarded Prix Mondial Cino Del Duca in 1992, Man Booker International Prize in 2005, Prince of Asturias Awards in 2009, Jerusalem Prize in 2015, and The Order of Legion of Honour in 2016.   Kim Uchang, chairperson of Pak Kyongni Prize Selection Committee, stated his impression about Ismail Kadare, saying, “Existence is the kernel of life to humans. As such, though, the life of human beings is hemmed in by a yet bigger ideological representation in terms of the reasoning of our own, the way of social understanding, and the established systems. Under these circumstances, what is the ultimate, desperate truth to life? In this perspective, works of Ismail Kadare have readers think and feel hard in the relationship with specific events of the history.” The award ceremony of The 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize will be held in Toji Cultural Centre at 11:30, October 26, sponsored by corporations and academic institution, including Maronie Books, Milim Syscon, Specs, Asiana Airlines, and Yonsei University, during 2019 Wonju Pak Kyongni Literature Festival (Oct. 5 – Oct. 29). As an award recipient, Ismail Kadare will be entitled to a prize money of 100 million Korean Won (US$ 84,000) and receive an official certificate of commendation of The 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize at the ceremony, designed by a famous visual designer of Korea, Mr. An Sang-soo. As The 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize winner, Ismail Kadare will have a wonderfully busy schedule right after his arrival in Korea and until his flight back home. He will have a press conference on Oct. 23, hold academic lectures at Future Campus and Sinchon Campus of Yonsei University respectively on Oct. 24 and Oct. 29, attend a congratulatory orchestra concert to be held at Baek-un Art Hall of Wonju City on Oct. 25, have a series of in-depth interviews, and appear in a variety of different radio and TV programs for a talk both about his life as a writer and what can engage readers. ※ Information and details about Wonju Pak Kyongni Literature Festival can be found at Toji Cultural Foundation-run website, www.tojicf.org. ..

  • Shortlist for 20..

    Pak Kyongni Prize Committee announced the shortlist for 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize in July. Antonio Muñoz Molina(Spain), Eduardo Mendoza(Spain), Ismail Kadare(Albania), Margaret Atwood(Canada), and Yan Lianke(China) are shortlisted for 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize. Antonio Muñoz Molina is shortlisted with El Jinete Polaco(1987) and El Inierno en Lisboa(1991), Eduardo Mendoza is with La Ciudad De Los Prodigios(1986) and La Verdad Sobre El Caso Savolta(1975), Ismail Kadare is shortlisted with Gjenerali i ushtrisë së vdekur(1963), ‘Pallati i ëndrrave(1981), and Çështje të marrëzisë(2005), Margaret Atwood is shortlisted with The Blind Assassin(2000) and The Handmaid’s Tale(1985), and Yan Lianke is shortlisted with Summer Sunset(2010) and Serve the People!(2005). Pak Kyongni Prize, the Korea’s first literature award for writers from around the world, was established in 2011 to commemorate literature spirits and achievements of the late Pak Kyongni(1926 – 2008). This year’s prize evaluation committee consists of 1) Kim, Woo-chang(Emeritus Professor of Korea University), 2) Kwon, Gi-dae(translator), 3) Kim, Seong-gon(Emeritus Professor of Seoul National University), 4) Kim, Seung-ok(Emeritus Professor of Korea University), 5) Lee, Se-gi(novelist), and 6) Yoo, Seok-ho(Emeritus Professor of Yonsei University). Kim, Woo-chang, chairperson of 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize Committee, talked about literature work of shortlisted candidates, “Writers talked about the political systems of the 20th century in great detail. They brought the tragic nature of the politics and the life of individuals struggling under political systems to life in their works.” Antonio Muñoz Molina, one of representative writers of Spain, was shortlisted for “El Jinete Polaco(1987)” and ‘El Inierno en Lisboa(1991)’. Two works are fine pieces that intellectually weaved the story of people living in a gloomy modern era who feel lost and the story of Spain’s modern history that has been marked with civil war and dictatorship. Kim, Woo-chang praised the works of Antonio Muñoz Molina, saying that his works are masterpieces that show how individuals are ironically entangled into political events. Eduardo Mendoza is a highly acclaimed Spanish writer who many say is a genius of marvelously weaving humors and ironies into a story, based on realism. His representative works include ‘La Verdad Sobre El Caso Savolta(1975)’ with which he made a debut and ‘La Ciudad De Los Prodigios(1986)’. ‘La Verdad Sobre El Caso Savolta’ dealt with the murder case of an arms manufacturer’s former executive director. This work delved deep into the historic background that forms mysteries, thus winning attention from the public. Kim, Woo-chang said that he is a writer who naturally depicts the story of humans struggling not only to have an upper hand over others but to make where they stand further favorable to them. Ismail Kadare, an Albania-born writer, is shortlisted with ‘Gjenerali i ushtrisë së vdekur(1963)’, ‘Pallati i ëndrrave(1981)’, and ‘Çështje të marrëzisë(2005)’. He has mainly written allegorical works by giving variations to myths and legends about the reality facing Albania. Kim, Woo-chang explained ‘Gjenerali i ushtrisë së vdekur’ tells us that causes of a nation can not justify the violence. Margaret Atwood, who has written several works critical of male-oriented society, is understood by many as the Canada’s first feminism writer. Her representative works include ‘The Handmaid’s Tale(1985)’ and ‘The Blind Assassin(2000)’ with which she is shortlisted for 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize. In 2017, she was on the final list of Nobel Prize in Literature. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ was, upon its release, on the bestseller list of The New York Times and Washington Post. It was produced in a TV drama series in 2017, which proves the book is definitely a classic that goes beyond and above the time. Yan Lianke is said by critics to have established himself as a representative writer on narrating China’s irregularities. His major works include, inter alia, ‘Summer Sunset(2010)’, ‘Lenin’s Kisses(20036)’, and ‘Serve the People!(2005)’. His works have reached many readers and critics and have been favored by many. He received ten literary awards including Lu Xun Literary Prize twice and Lao She Literary Award. Kim, Woo-chang said Yan Lianke is a writer who shows in a remarkably symbolic way individuals’overwhelming desire that has been and/or is suppressed in the socifalism system. The final award recipient will be announced on September 19. The 2019 Pak Kyongni Prize ceremony will be held in Toji Cultural Centre on October 26. This is when Wonju Pak Kyongni Literature Festival is held every year. This article is translated from Korean to English, based on the original article excerpted from Dong-A Il-bo, one of Korea’s major daily newspapers. Dong-A Il-bo runs Pak Kyongni Prize-related articles every year. .hidden_f {color:#fff; letter-spacing:-3px} ..

  • Residency Writer..

    ❚ Residency Writers Night- Date: 3 September 2019- Place: Seminar Room at Toji Cultural Centre- Participants: Twelve persons (Writers, sculture artist, Korean traditional musical instrument player)Early every month, writers and artists invited for Residency to Toji Cultural Centre have a Writers Night for ice-breaking, usually referred to as Maeji-ri Night because Maeji-ri is a local village name where Toji Cultural Centre is located.Writers and artists stay for Residency program, which is financed annually by Wonju City and Gangwon-do Provincial Government, for one month up to three months. Every writer and artist say they all love staying at Toji Cultural Centre where the natural beauty and surroundings are stretched all around because they are able to focus on what they want to do in their own room, not being disturbed no matter what. Everybody also say they like meals served at the dining facility of the Centre. Meals are added with zero chemical ingredients.New writers and artists come and go every month. Thus, to get to know each other, Writers Night is held early every month. They talk about who they are, what they did, what they are doing right now, and what they will do, etc.Residency program started in 2001. Until 2004, only Korean writers stayed at the Centre but in 2005, the Centre began providing Residency service also to writers from around the world. Ice-breaking session among writers and artists reportedly started in 2010.Twelve writers and artists attended the Writers Night. Two writers from Republic of South Africa and India are also among the participants as invited Residency program writers.Successful designation as a City of Literature of UNESCO Creative Cities Network will allow Culture and Art Department of Wonju City to offer more extended Residency program to writers from member cities of literature of the world!, as many in Wonju dearly wis..

  • Outdoor Exhibiti..

    ❚ Outdoor Exhibition of Illustrated Poems- Date: 1 September 2019 – 30 September- 100 illustrated poems- Place: Lakeside at Yonsei University Wonju Campus​With opening ceremony, exhibition of illustrated poems began. This exhibition is organized and held by a local literature association, Wonju Poetry Recital Association of Songs of Angels during September every year.A total of 100 illustrated poems are hung tightly on the handrail of wooden deck that stretches along the lake at a university of Wonju, so that citizens can savor literary pieces while walking along the wooden deck.Members of Wonju Writers’ Association, Wonju Woman Writers’ Association, and The Korean Writers’ Association worked on their individual illustrated poem and sent theirs to Wonju for exhibition. This annual, one-month outdoor display of illustrated poems is the result of coordinated work with Wonju local writers and members of literature association from outside of Wonj..

  • MOU Signing for ..

    ❚ MOU Signing for Culture City with Wonju City and Gangwon-do Province- Date: 28 August 2019- Place: Governor’s Office at Gangwon-do Provincial Government- Participants: Mr. Choi, Moon-soon (Gangwon-do Provincial Government Governor), Mr. Won, Chang-muk (Wonju City Mayor), public officers of Gangwon-do Provincial Government and Wonju City, and key personnel of Wonju Creativity Culture City Support CenterThe Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea’s Central Government designated Wonju City one of candidate cities for Culture City Creation. Culture City Creation is one of key projects currently done by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.In Gangwon-do Province(comprising of seven cities and eleven counties), Wonju city became the only candidate city for Culture City Creation. As a candidate, Wonju city, in coordination with Wonju Creativity Culture City Support Center, an independent organization set up to conduct culture-related projects, is currently carrying out a series of pilot projects this year.With Gangwon-do Provincial Government, Wonju city signed a Memorandum of Understanding to carry out projects this year and after Wonju becomes one of successful cities to be announced at the year’s en..

  • One Day Literatu..

    ❚ One Day Literature for Young Students with a Poet- Date: 24 August 2019- Place: Toji Cultural Centre- Participants: About twenty five young students of Wonju- Lecturer: Poet (Ms. Shin, Mi-na)One day literature class was offered to young students. Its theme: How is it going? This class was designed as part of 2019 Exciting Arts Tour done under the auspices of Arts Council Korea.We hope and believe students, out of their school classrooms even one day though, were refreshed with literature. This one day class was offered with the help of a popular poet, Ms. Shin, Mi-na.&nbs..

  • Lecture on Trans..

    ❚ Lecture on Transversal Cultural Creativity & Cultural Diversity- Date: 21 August 2019- Venue: Toji Cultural Centre- Attendees: Approximately 50 members of Wonju Branch under Korea’s Arts and Culture Association​Wonju Branch of Korea’s Arts and Culture Association held 2019 Wonju Culture and Arts Policy Forum on 21 August 2019. As a main session, the lecture on Transversal Cultural Creativity & Diversity was offered. This has been designed to have members of Wonju Branch of Korea’s Arts and Culture Association and citizens learn and think deeply about how to go transversal culturally, how to be more diversified culturally, and what and how to do to make a more culture- and art-friendly city. Right after a main lecture session, discussion followed to talk about what and how arts associations active in Wonju need to d..

  • Day of Novel Toj..

    ❚ Day of Novel Toji, 2019- Date: 15 August 2019- Space: Pak Kyongni Literature ParkIn commemoration of 15 August 1994 (when the late Pak Kyongni completed the full writing of 20 volume books, ‘Toji’, also known as ‘Land’, a family’s epic saga about Korea’s modern history), one full day literary festival is held on 15 August every year at Pak Kyongni Literature Park.August 15 is the Independence Day of Korea from Japan back in 1945.The late Pak Kyongni completed the writing of ‘Toji’(‘Land’) on the same day of 1994 and the last scene of ‘Toji’ finishes with the freedom of Korea from Japan as well as the surrender of Japan on 15 August 1945.Lots of rain poured on 15 August 2019 and the event was held indoors(in Pak Kyongni Literature House) this year. Despite the unfavorable weather condition, the event was as wonderful as ever, thoug..