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The Age of Doubt: Translating Pak Kyongni

Kwajŏng: Celebrating the Process of Translating Korean Literature

Photo for The Age of Doubt: Translating

Pak Kyongni (cropped), Courtesy to Toji Foundation(Left); Cover of The Age of Doubt (cropped), Courtesy of Honford Star

Join translators Anton Hur, You Jeong Kim, and Dasom Yang in discussing Pak Kyongni's The Age of Doubt.

Korean Literature is rapidly gaining a wider audience and acclaim through the effort and skill of translators. They are dedicated to bringing across venerated literary giants and exciting contemporary voices into the English-reading world. The Kwajong series continues with a conversation with Anton Her, You Jeong Kim, and Dasom Yang about the collaborative process of bringing a collection of classic short stories by legendary Korean author Pak Kyongni across into English.  

Pak Kyongni (1926-2008) was one of Korea's most venerated authors, celebrated for her masterwork Toji (The Land), a twenty-one volume series which ran from 1969 to 1994 and detailed the lives of a family from the late 19th century onward covering the most turbulent periods of Korean history. Her writing, with its focus on the lives of ordinary people living in extraordinary times, has permeated Korean culture through its inclusion in the national curriculum, and multiple adaptations into TV programs, films, stage plays, and graphic novels.

The Age of Doubt (Honford Star, 2022) is a collection of seven of Pak Kyongni's short stories from 1955-1968 including her debut story, "Calculations." This compelling new collection was produced by a team of eight translators: Sophie Bowman, Anton Her, Slin Jung, You Jeong Kim, Paige Aniyah Morris, Mattho Mandersloot, Emily Tae Won and Dasom Yang. 

The event will be a discussion of the collaborative efforts to translate the short stories included in The Age of Doubt with translator and editor of the project You Jeong Kim, and contributing translators Anton Her and Dasom Yang with discussant Professor Hyun Suk Park. The discussion will put a spotlight on the importance of Pak Kyongni as a literary figure and the publication of this collection, and the joint creative efforts of the translators who collaborated in its production. 

To attend the event, please register here.

Anton Hur was double-longlisted and shortlisted for the 2022 International Booker Prize for his work as a literary translator. A graduate of Korea University College of Law and Seoul National University Graduate School, he currently divides his time between Seoul and Songdo. He will publish a book on translation in Korea in 2023. 

You Jeong Kim is a translator and editor based in Seoul. She won the commemoration prize of the 47th Modern Korean Literature Translation Awards in 2016. She's also a graduate of LTI Korea Translation Academy Special and Regular Courses. She has translated literary and cultural content including short stories, children's stories, essays, poetry, pansori script, scenarios, and subtitles.  

Dasom Yang is a writer and translator from Korea, now living in Berlin. She holds an MPhil in Creative Writing form Trinity College Dublin and is writing a collection of essays. Her translation of Pak Kyongni's short story appears in the collection The Age of Doubt (Honford Star, 2022). Read more about her here:

Dr. Hyun Suk Park is an assistant professor of Korean literature at UCLA. Her primary field is Korean literature and culture from the mid-seventeenth through nineteenth century, encompassing texts in Korean and in classical Chinese. Her reserch interests include intersections of literature and performance of music and dance, the history of gender and sexuality, the comparative history of slavery, ritual studies travel writings, and cultural exchanges in East Asia. She is currently working on her first book manuscript based on her dissertation, "The Government Courtesan: Status, Gender, and Performance in Late Chosŏn Korea," which examines the music and dance performance in state ritual and ceremony by government courtesan, female entertainers of hereditary base status. 

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Published: Thursday, October 6, 2022