London Book Fair to feature Korea

October 21, 2013

Hwang Sun-mi named as Market Focus Author of Day

By Chung Ah-young

Contemporary Korean authors and literature will be on the international spotlight during the London Book Fair 2014 as Korea was chosen as the Market Focus. It shows the nation’s status as one of the top 10 publishing markets in the world and its growing presence in the international literary scene mainly due to author Shin Kyung-sook’s iconic novel “Please Look After Mom.”

Korea was also the guest of honor at Frankfurt Book Fair in 2005 and at the Beijing International Book Fair in 2012.

The Market Focus marks the 10th anniversary in 2014 since it was launched to connect both commercial and cultural partnerships around the world in 2004. The fair, which will take place from April 15-17 next year, has organizers hoping that the program will play a crucial role to build new relationships between East and West.
Organized by the London Book Fair in association with the Publishers Association in the United Kingdom, the Korea Market Focus is expected to raise awareness of Korean literature which has long been on the periphery of international mainstream publications.

The Korean Publishers Association (KPA) will support the Korea Market Focus to make it a great opportunity for publishers from across the world and introduce Korea through a variety of cultural events, seminars and special programs. The KPA will cooperate with the Publishers Association and the British Council and the Korean Culture Council in London and Seoul.

A total of 14 Korean publishing companies and literary institutions such as the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, Kong & Park, Inc., YeaRimDang Publishing Co., Ltd. and Sakyejul Publishing will be participating in the fair.

“Korea is a fascinating part of the world with a thriving literary scene and, as a top 10 publishing market, it is increasingly important for the international publishing community. We look forward to delivering an exciting professional and cultural program around Korea Market Focus, in partnership with the Korean Publishers Association and UK partners, the British Council and the Publishers Association (UK),” Amy Webster, Market Focus director of the fair, said in a press release.
Emma House, trade and international director of the Publishers Association, said that Korea is an important market for translational rights sales for U.K. publishers as well as for export sales, with a 15 percent growth of the U.K. book exports over the last three years. In 2010, some 10,500 translated titles were published in Korea, with Japan, the U.S. and the U.K. making up 77 percent of the total translated titles.

The fair organizer has recently announced internationally acclaimed author Hwang Sun-mi renowned for “The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly” as the Market Focus Author of the Day. To honor Korea as the Market Focus, the Author of the Day program will feature the author for three days through various events such as book signing, photo calls and meetings with international publishers.

“I’m honored to be invited to the London Book Fair. This is a surprising and exciting time in my life. Sometimes it is hard to believe that this is my life, and the news that I will be standing in the middle of The London Book Fair is even more difficult to believe. I feel as if I am standing behind a closed door; I’m afraid of what may be on the other side, and my heart is leaping. I’m sure this will be an unforgettable experience!” said Hwang in a press release.

Supported by the British Council and the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, Hwang will be promoted to a broad audience of international publishing professionals for three days.

Since Hwang made her debut in 1995, she has published more than 50 books which are enjoyable both for adults and children. “The Hen,” which was first published in 2000, has been on the bestseller lists in Korea for 10 years. The novel has been turned into a comic book, play, and musical, and has been translated into 18 languages and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.

In 2011, an animated film version of the book became the highest grossing animated film in Korean history. The English edition of The Hen will be published in November by Penguin Books.

She won numerous literary awards such as the Children’s Literature New Writer Award with “Marble, Marble” and the Nongmin Literary Award with “A Flower to Plant in Your Heart.” Particularly, The Hen was named as the Best Book of the Year in Poland in 2012 published by Kwaity Orientu.