• Event
  • USA

PEN World Voices Festival

  • Event Code
  • Num
  • Country
  • City
    New York
  • Period
    04/06/2018 to 04/22/2018
  • Writer Name


The Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea) (President: Kim Sa-in) sponsored author Hwang Sok-yong’s trip to New York for the PEN America World Voices Festival. The internationally-renowned festival takes place each spring and was held this year from April 6th to the 22nd with more than 165 writers from over 50 countries participating in five dozen events all over New York City. The theme of the year was “RESIST & REIMAGINE”, which put the spotlight on the lives of minorities and the marginalized. Some of the topics emphasized this year included the “Me Too” movement, the refugee crisis, and rights and equality for Muslim women.


Hwang participated in two sessions that took place at the Dixon Place in New York on the 19th and 20th. At the session on the 19th, titled “Cry, the Beloved Country”, Hwang and writers from Poland, Kenya, and the Ukraine gave a presentation on the theme of those who resisted against dictatorial oppression. Audiences listened with rapt attention at the unfamiliar languages and styles put on display at the session. After the presentations, the five writers and the audience members had an active discussion on the patterns of political and social changes undergone by countries with histories of war or colonization.


The session on the 20th, titled “Unlived Lives”, was led by Hwang, alongside two writers from Bulgaria and the Czech Republic respectively. The writers went into great detail about the stories of people oppressed by political tyranny. Hwang gave a reading of an excerpt from his novel Familiar Things (Scribe), published in the English-language market in 2017, and described how he came to write the novel and the way he constructed the world within it. The presentations were followed by an autograph session, where Familiar Things and Princess Bari (Scribe, published in Australia) sold to great success, affirming local readers’ great interest in Korean literature.


LTI Korea has supported Korean writers’ participation in overseas exchange events such as literary festivals, book fairs, and readings, thereby allowing them and their works a chance to build personal connections with foreign readers. Hwang’s presence at the international literary event put Korean literature on the map and publicized his work to a global audience. LTI Korea will continue to work in close cooperation with prominent festivals to promote Korean literature around the world.

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