On the evening of June 5, 2017 the UCI Libraries in partnership with the UCI Center for Critical Korean Studies at the School of Humanities, the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, UCI Office of Global Engagement, and the Center for Asian Studies at the School of Social Sciences, hosted Korean author Park Min-gyu for a book talk event in Langson Library.
Born in Ulsan, South Korea in 1968, Park Min-gyu graduated from Chungang University with a degree in Critical Writing. He began his literary career with two novels, "Legend of the World's Superheroes" (Jigu yeongung jeonseol) and "The Last Fan Club of Sammi Superstars" (Sammi syupeosuta eui majimak paenkulleob), in 2003 and these novels earned him literary prizes and high praises from his peers. Writer and power Twitterian Lee Oe-soo called Park's debut, "the most shocking event in the history of Korean literature."
His latest novel, "Pavane for a Dead Princess", was published in 2009. One of the stories titled "The Door of Morning" (Achim eui moon) won Yi Sang Literary Award. In 2010, Park's short story, "A Nap" was adapted into a theatrical play of the same name. It was directed by filmmaker Hur Jin-ho and starred Kibum of Super Junior as a young version of male lead Young-jin.
In addition to shedding light on some of his novels, Min-gyu read in Korean from "A Journal from the Alpha-Mega Kosiwon" and it was engaging for those who understand the language and those who don't alike. His unique perspective on the world shone through in his reading, which was full of rhythmic moments. These moments alluded to his characters and society ultimately achieving peace and optimism which are common themes in his work.
Equally, Min-gyu shared anecdotes throughout the program, at one point speaking about how a giraffe came to symbolize objection to "pushmen" employed in Korean subways to fill cars with extra passengers. The humble author also revealed why he purposefully changes typeface sizes in his work and joked about how this keeps literary critics from realizing his flaws as a poet by trade and not a novelist.
Additional speakers included:
Bruce Fulton - Korean Literature Translator
Ju-Chan Fulton - Korean Literature Translator
Madeline Collins - UCI Korean Literature and Culture Major, Undergraduate
The UCI libraries has several copies of Park Min-Gyu's books for circulation, which can be found on the first floor of Langson Library in the new Korea Corner.
Photos from the event can be found on the Libraries' Flickr page. Further, a video of the program will be available in coming weeks on the Libraries' Indi.com channel.