• Book
  • English(English)


  • Author
  • Country
    Republic of Korea
  • Publisher
  • Published Year
  • Genre
    Literature - Korean literature - Contemporary fiction



    Title: Border Market

    Author: Kim Seong Joong

    Genre: Fiction


    LTI Korea staff: Alex Baek ( / +82-2-6919-7741)


  • About the book

    Border Market is the second collection of short stories by Kim Sung Jung, the recipient of three consecutive Young Writers’ Awards, presented to short stories and novellas that represent significant achievement written by young writers with less than 10 years of experience since their debut. Her extraordinary imagination and beautiful prose have drawn the attention of literary circles that have seen her potential for the future of Korean literature. Border Market is a fantastic and mysterious blend of the pleasure of Kim’s amazing imagination that eclipses the humdrum of daily life and touching stories that aren’t far from reality. Like a border between two countries, the movement between fake and real, joy and pain, story and the origin of the story, and works of fiction and the reader is where Kim’s fiction is headed.


    Border Market contains eight exceptional short stories including: the titular story, “Border Market,” featuring a marketplace where people sell their memories to buy something; “Kumun,” a story about a woman who chooses a short and painful life to obtain the gift of a genius; “Eva and Agnes,” depicting the desires and relationship between two friends—Eva, a former model who is losing he will to live since she was in a car accident, and Agnes, a photojournalist who travels through conflict-ridden regions; “Same Species,” which projects human desires on a king cobra called “Queen”; and “Mortality,” a story about a struggle to take possession of the perfect piece of music.  


    These are stories where desires transform into an immense force that sustains life. As we follow these alluring stories of desires, we will be able to taste the true power of imagination. Even though Kim’s stories read fast, they linger on for a long time. In short, Kim’s fiction is “fast and long-lasting.”

    About the author

    Kim Sung Jung was born in 1975. She studied creative writing at Myongji University. She began her literary career in 2008, when her short story “Please Return My Chair” won the JoongAng New Writer’s Award. Her short story collections include Comedian and Border Market.

    Kim received the most number of Young Writers’ Awards (three consecutive years), which is deemed an “official recognition” of talent for young writers, and that fact alone allows us to assume the amount of potential literary talent Kim has. In particular, the vast, dynamic stories that expand the narrative scope to the world present a different kind of aesthetics that was rare in Korean literature. It would not be wrong to see Kim, who writes exceptionally readable stories and has a sense for contemporary writing style, as the “future of Korean literature.”

    About the translators

    Stella Kim is a freelance translator and interpreter. She earned her first MA in East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University and a second MA in interpretation and translation at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. She is a winner of the 2014 LTI Korea Award for Aspiring Translators, the 2016 Korea Times Modern Korean Literature Translation Award, and multiple LTI Korea translation grants. Her translations have appeared in Asia Literary ReviewASIA Magazine, and others.

    Media Response/Awards Received

    Kim made her literary debut after she won the 2008 JoongAng New Writer’s Award for short fiction. She won the Young Writers’ Award for a record-breaking three consecutive years from 2010 to 2012. Her works have been nominated for the Contemporary Literature Award in 2012, Lee Hyo-seok Literature Award in 2012 and 2013, and Kim Yu-jeong Literary Award in 2014.


    “[Kim] follows life—which is light like a bouncy ball and is a continuation of losses—focusing on the essentials by erasing the rest with an eraser.” _Commentary from the judges (Shin Kyung-sook, writer of Please Take Care of Mom and the winner of Man Asian Literary Prize)


    “The stories don’t seem to make sense, but left a long-lasting memory even after I closed the book.” _Commentary from the judges_ 2011 Young Writers’ Award


    “This writer received the Young Writers’ Award for three consecutive years since its inaugural year. It would be difficult to deny the fact that she has a knack for designing stories.”

    _Commentary from the judges_ 2012 Young Writers’ Award


    “What kind of yesterday did you discard for today? What kind of moments did you erase and what kind of promise did you break? But do you really not know? If you had to feign ignorance to live on, you don’t need to recall them after reading Kim Sung Jung’s Border Market. Kim’s stories open up eerie yet beautifully melancholic world without trying to allude to reality. They bring you incredible experiences, as though listening to a boyfriend breaking up with you in a sweet, mellow voice. And perhaps they are real realistic dreams that can only be dreamed in fiction-like reality.” _ Hankook Ilbo

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