Come and hear one of South Korea’s most eminent authors, Hwang Sok-yong, speak about his life and work with award-winning cultural journalist and critic Maya Jaggi.
Hwang Sok-yong was born in 1943 in Manchuria. A reluctant soldier during the Vietnam War tasked with eliminating evidence of massacres, he became a human rights activist and was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in his native South Korea after making an unauthorised trip to the North to promote exchange between artists. He started actively publishing his writing in the 1970s and has authored over a dozen novels, which have been translated into many different languages. His name is mentioned regularly as a possible contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Hwang will discuss his most recent novel Princess Bari (Periscope 2015, translated by Sora Kim-Russell), which tells of a young woman’s harrowing trajectory from North Korea to Britain, using elements borrowed from Korean legend. This event will fascinate anyone interested in human stories arising from conflict.
Maya Jaggi writes for the Guardian and Financial Times, among other publications, and was contracted as one of Guardian Review’s leading arts profile writers for a decade. Awarded an honorary doctorate by the Open University in 2012 for ‘extending the map of international writing’, she has reported from five continents and interviewed 12 Nobel prizewinners in literature. She chaired the jury of the Man Asian prize in Hong Kong, and has judged other literary awards including the Dublin Impac, David Cohen, Caine and Orange. Educated at Oxford University and the LSE, she was a DAAD fellow in Berlin in autumn 2014.