London Book Fair features 10 Korean writers


What can the 10 South Korean writers selected for the book fair this week tell us about a country that has been cut in two? The Star

Hen
Hen

After two years of political hot potatoes – first China and then Turkey – this year’s “market focus” country presents a different challenge to the London Book Fair, which runs this week: Who wants to read books from Korea? The choice of name could be dismissed as opportunistically misleading; Korea is two countries, but the 10 writers who will be at the book fair are all from the south.

We’re desperate to hear the inside story of North Korea because it is the stuff of nightmares, locked in unending cold war, complete with nuclear bombs aimed at unknown targets. We have no access to the first-hand stories of its citizens, so we rely on Western writers, whether of novels, such as Adam Johnson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Orphan Master’s Son, or of journalism.