Renowned Literary Figures Gather in Seoul for Three-Day Forum

Korea Times (Seoul, Korea), September 26, 2000 | Go to article overview

Renowned Literary Figures Gather in Seoul for Three-Day Forum


Today, internationally acclaimed writers, poets, critics and literary scholars from all parts of the globe will congregate in Seoul to meet their Korean counterparts and discuss the status and role of literature in a multicultural world.

Under the theme, ``Writing Across Boundaries: Literature in the Multicultural World,'' the literary forum will be held until Sept. 28 at the Sejong Center for Performing Arts in downtown Seoul.

It is the first time for the nation to host such a large-scale literary forum.

The general public, especially, literary lovers, will enjoy a rare opportunity to see and hear in person prominent literary figures from all over the world. Rather than an academic event for a chosen few, the forum will be an intellectual social event, allowing anyone interested to come and take part.

Among the 19 foreign participants are renowned Nigerian novelist Wole Soyinka -- the 1986 Nobel Prize winner for ``Swamp Dwellers'' -- 1974 Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet Gary Snyder, French sociologist/writer Pierre Bourdieu, Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare, British novelist Margaret Drabble and Japanese critic Kojin Karatani.

The participants represent the world's six largest language groups -- English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese. Most have already demolished boundaries, straddling two or more cultures at once. For instance, Wole Soyinka was born in Nigeria, went to university in England, and now is a professor in the U.S.

``Boundaries must be erased through the free flow of ideas, and literature is the familiar vehicle upon which they ride.''

These words of Soyinka in his presentation paper express the very essence of the 2000 Seoul International Forum for Literature.

Against the foreign participants, 56 Korean literary figures will attend the event. They include celebrated poets Kim Jie-ha and Ko Un as well as prolific and well-known novelists Lee Mun-yol and Park Wan-suh.

The forum was originally planned for 1998 but delayed because of the Korean economic crisis. …

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