The word ‘Philosophy’ is derived from the Greek word philosophia, which means ‘Love of wisdom’. It means that philosophy is not knowledge which means simple facts, but that using that knowledge to love and explore the wisdom necessary for life. We would like to learn how to love wisdom through a lecture by Eric Weiner, the author of 『The Socrates Express』.

『FIX』 As you can see from the title, which means ‘to fix, to correct,’ this book was conceived to uncover the innocence of those who were falsely framed and pointed out as criminals and to rectify the facts. Let’s find out what the author is trying to say through this mystery novel based on real famous crime cases.

Parents’ desire for their children to become upper class people is a mistaken mind that is based purely on their own self-interest, which hurts their children. Through this work, reminiscent of the Korean drama , we learn about the reality of the parents world in Taiwan.

‘If I step on your toes, you will step on my foot. Followed by me, stepping on whole of you, followed by you, throwing a hand grenade after me.’ Vengeance only breeds other revenge and never ends easily. What do you think of the phrase ‘Revenge is an escalating disease’? Think through his new work 『Sweet Sweet Revenge Ltd.』.

Due to the development of technology, the composition of new tricks and the ethical issue of depicting victims
become an issue, changing the writing and reading conditions of mystery/thriller novel. In such a situation,
we look at what kind of creative perspectives writers make when they work,
and what kind of reading readers will need about it.

迟云, Editor-in-Chief, Shandong Publishing Group

Seiichi Higuchi, Secretary General, Japan Book Publishers Association

Laura Bangun Prinsloo, Chairperson, Indonesia national book committee

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I´m Nicolás Braessas, translator and founder of Hwarang Editorial. After graduating in Argentina, I studied Korean at Seoul National University.

Hwarang Editorial is the first publishing house in the Spanish speaking world that publishes Korean literature only. Our mission is to introduce a comprehensive catalogue of Korean writers, from classics to contemporary authors, in Spanish markets.

Please introduce ‘Hwarang Editorial’ and the work you are currently in charge to Korean readers and publishers.

Hwarang Editorial is the first Spanish publishing house that focuses on Korean Literature only. The history of Korean translation in the Spanish speaking world is new: the first literary works were translated in the 90´s so it is a very exciting project, like discovering a whole new world. The mission of Hwarang Editorial is to present an exhaustive catalogue of the Korean literary tradition, not only contemporary authors, but classic ones too.

As far as I know, the first work published by your company was by Korean author Lee Sang. Considering the unique nature of poetry, I presume it would not be an easy job to translate and publish the work in Spanish. Nevertheless, was there any particular reason why you published this work first?

I fell in love with Lee Sang poetry. When I didn’t know much about Korean literature, I run into a biography of him and I couldn’t believe that he wrote such a marvelous oeuvre being so young. He is a milestone in Korean modern literature so I thought it would be a symbol to initiate the publishing house with his work. It was really complicated to translate it into Spanish, as he mixed of hanja and hangul, the obscure meaning of many of his poems. Lee Sang is not just our first book, but a current project. We made a translation experiment starting from our Spanish version. From my Spanish translation, a Brazilian poet translated into portuñol a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish; A Catalan poet into catanyol, a mix of Catalan and Spanish; and a Paraguayan poet translated into Yopará, mixing Guarani and Spanish. The idea was to show the complexities and tensions of Lee Sang and his period: Lee Sang wrote part of his poetry in Japanese, so we decided to work with poets that write in mixed languages to show the tensions in Lee Sang. Each translation has a particular tone. Every year we publish a new edition with three more versions. Last year was Spanglish (Spanish-English), Quichuañol (Quechua-Spanish) and Euskañol (Basque-Spanish).

What is the reaction of Argentine readers to

It was well received. Our edition includes an introduction that explains Lee Sang’s historical context, his biography and the aesthetics transformations of that period. As Korean literature is not that well known in our country, paratexts are fundamental to introduce it to new readers. Thanks to this kind of editions, classic Korean authors are not being seen as exotic writers from faraway lands. It is important to publish classics again and again so they can be known outside scholar circles.

What factors do you focus on when deciding which overseas works to publish?

We have many factors in mind. There must be a balance between what our readers want, but we also need the element of surprise. Korean literature is different from Latin American literature, we like that our readers discover those differences, that “otherness” that creates bridges between cultures. There is a lot of curiosity to see what is happening in Korea right now, which are the latest trends and of course we are interested in that. Sometimes what works in some place doesn’t work in another, but we are willing to take risks. There is also an interest in female authors, feminisms, non-traditional genres like sci-fi. Korean Literature is new in our country, so anthologies are a good way to introduce many authors.

The world's publishing industry is undergoing major changes in the covid-19 pandemic. I would like to know how the publishing market in Argentina has changed since the pandemic and how your company is responding to it.

In Argentina there is a big tradition of literary events: book fairs, poetry and fiction recitals, workshops with authors and translators, etc. Face to face interaction is fundamental to create a community of readers, to create cultural ties and not just business relations. Because of the pandemic we managed to find digital solutions that we weren’t used to work with. In our country, eBooks, social networks, forums are not popular at all in the literary scene, so it was a big transformation. We started to focus a lot on bookstagramers, youtubers, tiktokers. In this new scenario they were better communicators than the traditional ones. This horizontal way of sharing information, more segmented, is a great strategy to reach new readers. We created new bonds in the digital community, the Spanish speaking world is extremely large, so focusing on the digital media was also an opportunity to fill that territorial gap. Now readers from Mexico and Spain are in direct contact with our publishing house and after the pandemic when economy starts to grow again and borders get back to normal we have big plans to expand outside South America.

I know that you have also published works by young Korean artists such as Kim Jung-hyuk, Chung serang, and Jang Ryu-jin. Are there any Korean writers or works that you are interested in recently or want to work with in the future? ​

I really like the work of Kang Hwa-gil​ and Cheon Heerahn. We are publishing an anthology of short stories including them and many more. In the future, I would love to publish more poetry. Authors like Hyemi are amazing and it’s a pity that the market focuses mainly on fiction.

For those in charge of overseas publishing companies who want to publish translations in Argentina, please explain the process of publishing the works of foreign countries in Argentina.

Argentina always promotes bibliodiversity and our readers are eager to know more about other literary traditions. Publishers are usually in contact with international fairs like Frankfurt or Guadalajara, but contacts with literary institutions are even more important.
LTI is a great ally that supports Korean Literature around the world, without their help probably Hwarang Editorial wouldn’t even exist. Because of language barriers sometimes it is difficult to know what is happening in the Korean literary scene, so LTI is a wonderful showcase to learn and appreciate what is going on. The first step from Argentinian publishers is to contact LTI. On the other hand, if you are an overseas publisher who wants to publish in Argentina, I recommend that you contact the LTI too. They know which publishing houses work with Korean Literature in our region.

Is there any last message you would like to leave to Korean readers and publishers?

As a publisher and Korean-Spanish translator I´m very happy to see how Korean Literature is being so well received around the world. There are 500 million people in the Spanish speaking market, it’s a big opportunity to exchange our cultures. We are eager to know different authors, not just best sellers or what is supposed to suit “foreign readers”. We hope that we can make a lot of contacts to know Korean publishers better, for example, what they expect from us, what kind of literature they want to share, create cultural bonds.
Contact info:

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Leonora Craig Cohen is an editor at Serpent’s Tail, an independent literary publishing house based in London.
Books she has worked on recently include Sea Change by Alix Nathan, Pop Song by Larissa Pham and All of You Every Single One by Beatrice Hitchman.

Serpent’s Tail was founded in 1986 to introduce British readers to daring new voices from around the world and the Publisher of the imprint is Hannah Westland.
Follow us @serpentstail

Please introduce ‘Serpent's Tail’ and the work you are currently in charge to Korean readers and publishers.

We are an award-winning literary imprint which was established in 1986 with a mission to introduce readers to exciting, innovative writing by a diverse range of authors both from the UK and around the world. Serpent’s Tail is an imprint of the independent publishing house Profile Books and is based in London, England. We are the British home of authors including Sarah Perry, Karen Joy Fowler and Carmen Maria Machado and recently launched a sister imprint, Viper, which publishes crime, mystery and thriller fiction.

Yun Ko-eun’s THE DISASTER TOURIST, translated into English by Lizzie Buehler follows Yona, an overworked programming coordinator at the disaster tourism firm Jungle. When a senior colleague touches her inappropriately she tries to complain, and in an attempt to bury her allegations, the company make her an attractive proposition: a free ticket for one of their most sought-after trips, to the desert island of Mui. She accepts the offer and travels to the remote island, where the major attraction is a supposedly-dramatic sinkhole. When the customers who’ve paid a premium for the trip begin to get frustrated, Yona realises that the company has dangerous plans to fabricate an environmental catastrophe to make the trip more interesting, but when she tries to raise the alarm, she discovers she has put her own life in danger.

I would like to know about the process of publishing Yun ko-eun's . How have you first got to know Yun ko-eun and her work? What made you decide to publish it?

The Publisher of Serpent’s Tail, Hannah Westland, and I were immediately fascinated and gripped by the translated sample sent to us by Barbara Zitwer, a brilliant literary agent who is particularly renowned for introducing contemporary Korean fiction in translation to the English-speaking world.
We were especially keen to publish THE DISASTER TOURIST as it spoke clearly and urgently to a great many issues facing people around the world, from environmental devastation, institutional sexism and the damage wrought by predatory capitalism in impoverished communities popular with holiday-makers. Yun Ko-eun’s writing is darkly humorous, polished and deeply insightful about the moral calculations ordinary people are often forced to make in balancing their survival against larger considerations. We knew very quickly that we were reading the work of a talented and original writer and were particularly impressed with Lizzi Buehler’s skill in translating the sample. Hannah Westland was the lead editor for English translation of The Disaster Tourist and I was privileged to work under her during the process. I am now the editorial point of contact for the novel in the UK and it continues to be a pleasure remaining in close contact with Lizzie, Ko-eun, Barbara and the rest of the Serpent’s Tail team about how best to present the novel to readers here.

is a thriller novel about abnormal climate. With the Covid-19 pandemic raising awareness of climate change worldwide, I presume that abnormal climate is also a big issue in the UK publishing market. I would like to know whether there is any new trend or change in the UK publishing market due to climate change

Climate change is one of the biggest problems, if not the very biggest, facing humanity today and many people are interested in reading about the ways it affects the lives of those around them. It is inevitable that writers’ concerns about this problem are reflected in both fiction and non-fiction and with calls for action growing, so has the preponderance of thoughtful, impactful writing on this topic. Fiction is a vital space where imaginative responses to the world around us can flourish and British readers are increasingly flocking towards literary representations of both our fractious present and our possible futures. We have recently been privileged to publish Oana Aristide’s daring, suspenseful novel UNDER THE BLUE which explores both Artificial Intelligence and the apocalyptic consequences of a virus released by melting polar ice and Arni Snær Magnason’s lyrical essays mourning humankind’s destruction of nature in ON TIME AND WATER. We look forward to publishing more timely literary writing in this vein.

What is the reaction of English readers to ?

The reaction of British readers has been immensely positive – the book has been well reviewed by many newspapers and magazines and its themes thoughtfully discussed by critics. There has been a particular interest in discussing the novel’s representation of feminist questions in modern Korea and the contrasts and similarities to life in Britain.
Yun Ko-eun was recently awarded the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger for fiction in translation, a prestigious literary prize for thriller and mystery fiction, and we are very proud indeed of how her work has struck a chord with readers here.

What factors do you focus on when deciding which overseas works to publish?

We are always on the lookout for works that give new insight and knowledge into how life is lived today in other countries but which simultaneously engages with common human concerns like love, work, friendship, family and nature. The ideal work in translation is one which retains the distinctiveness of the original language and culture from which it sprang but has the capacity to connect with readers who may not immediately be familiar with these. THE DISASTER TOURIST is the perfect example of a book which does these things very effectively and is also an impressively refined artistic work.

Are there any Korean writers or works that you are interested in recently or want to work with in the future?

We don’t currently have anyone in mind but would very much like to read more Korean literary works in translation and discover great writing that introduces us to a variety of important topics about Korean life. Some examples of the type of novels by Korean authors we would most love to look at in the future include Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, Un-su Kim’s The Plotters and Shin Kyung-Sook’s The Court Dancer.

Is there any last message you would like to leave to Korean readers and publishers?

Despite the last year and a half of restricted travel, we would like to reassure Korean readers and publishers that a great many people in Britain remain interested in learning about global issues and listening to voices from abroad. We also send our good wishes in these strange and difficult times and the hope for better things to come.