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Brisbane Writers Festival to kick off focusing on Korean writers

March 29, 2023 - 17:45 By Hwang Dong-hee
South Korean writers Bora Chung (left) and Park Sang-young (Brisbane Writers Festival)

South Korea will receive the spot light as the Country of Focus at the 2023 Brisbane Writers Festival, scheduled to take place May 10-14, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Wednesday.

Founded in 1962, the literary festival is held every May in Brisbane, Australia. The Country of Focus program, initiated in 2022 with Aotearoa/New Zealand and Pasifika, celebrates a particular country or region within the Indo-Pacific region.

Bora Chung, the author of “Cursed Bunny,” who was shortlisted for the 2022 International Booker Prize; Park Sang-young of International Booker-longlisted “Love in the Big City;” and Bae Suah of “Untold Night and Day” have been invited to the literary festival this year. Poet Kim Min-jeong, also the CEO and editor of publisher Nanda, an imprint of Munhakdongne Publishing Group, will participate in poetry reading and conversation programs.

Chung is among the five pre-announced authors for the festival along with 2022 Booker prize winner Shehan Karunatilaka. Chung will speak at a book talk on May 11 about her genre-defying horror fables featured in “Cursed Bunny.” She will also participate in conversations with Park on why short stories are important, and with Kim on women’s writing in Korea.

Two children’s book artists have also been invited. Author-illustrator Lee Ji-hyeon of “Pool” and picture book artist Lee Gi-hun of “9:47” will take part in “Word Play,” an education program for young readers.

Krys Lee, a Korean American writer and translator, will also participate in the festival and have a conversation with international writers on the possibilities and limitations of empathy.

"South Korea has captured attention for its rich and diverse cultural aspects, and literature is certainly one of them. With the dynamic and diverse landscape of Korean literature, we expect this year's Country of Focus program will be exciting," said Melissa Bates, CEO of the Brisbane Writers Festival.

Detailed schedules for some 160 events are available on the Brisbane Writers Festival’s official website.