The Korean Cultural Centre in London has been operating a book club ever since Korea was named as the the market focus at the London Book Fair back back in 2014.
Four years later and the book club is still going strong. It is a great way to get access to Korean translated literature and discuss the book with those who bear a similar interest in the culture. The book club takes place on the last Wednesday of every month and it is really easy to apply. (January and December at the months that the book club does not take place)
You apply at the beginning of each month by emailing the KCCUK at Info@Kccuk.Org.Uk in the hopes of being selected for that book. Names are picked at random to fill up 15 spaces. Once you get email confirmation, you are instructed to pick up a copy of the book, free of charge (yes completely free) at the KCCUK venue, located at 1-3 Strand, London WC2N 5BW. From the notification period, you usually have 3 weeks to complete the book before attending the discussion night. A couple of days prior to the evening, you receive a few questions that help fuel the discussion on the day.
At the start you are greeted by Eunji, who is in charge of the book club and there is a generous helping of snacks and drinks to aid the discussions. A moderator is appointed to ensure the discussions keep flowing around the book.
To date the participants at the KCCUK, have discussed 32 translated books touching on a wide variety of genres. This year the literature nights are joining forces with the movie nights where they look at discussing books on films. The participants for April have been selected and this month, they will jonied by the author himself Ahn Jung-Hyo and the book will be Silver Stallion. This will differ slightly from the movie to ensure the that author has more of a range to discuss his works.
Below is a list of all the titles from 2014 – 17 that book club has discussed, with a list of authors and those who have translated alongside. As well as meeting fellow like mind individuals, the group is moderated by those with an authority on Korean literature. They have either studied the subject at MA level or are a translator themselves ( Deborah Smith & Daniel Hahn are amongst those who have moderated for the KCC along with Han EJ Karmy, who was the one who started the idea for these evenings) I have found having a passion and keen interest in Korean literature does help. I have on occasion done the odd bit of moderating here and there. It is interesting to see the questions that other like minded readers might be asking.
The best way to keep in touch with the latest upcoming book is to get yourself on the mailing list of KCCUK or visit their website at the beginning of each month.