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Book Reading: I’ll Be Right There
October 29, 2014 11:15 pm - October 30, 2014 12:30 am
Location: Lathrop East Asia Library, Room 224 - Map Link
Free and Open to the Public; Please RSVP here.
Shin Kyung-suk– Author
Set in 1980s South Korea amid the tremors of political revolution, I’ll Be Right There follows Jung Yoon, a highly literate, twenty-something woman, as she recounts her tragic personal history as well as those of her three intimate college friends. When Yoon receives a distressing phone call from her ex-boyfriend after eight years of separation, memories of a tumultuous youth begin to resurface, forcing her to re-live the most intense period of her life. With profound intellectual and emotional insight, she revisits the death of her beloved mother, the strong bond with her now-dying former college professor, the excitement of her first love, and the friendships forged out of a shared sense of isolation and grief.
Kyung-sook Shin is one of South Korea’s the most widely read and acclaimed novelists. She graduated from Seoul Institute of the Arts, and won the Munye Joongang New Author Prize for her first novella, Winter Fables, starting her career as a writer at the age of 22.
Since then Shin has published seven novels including Deep Sorrow, A Lone Room, The Train Departs at 7, Violet, Lee Jin, Please Look After Mom and I’ll Be Right There, nine short story collections, and three essay collections as well.
Her writing is characterized by a profound point of view focusing on the human mind, a resonating and colorful style utilizing symbolism and metaphor, and an expressive and heartfelt narrative style. Setting social changes and political situations as the backdrops of her works, Shin mainly looks inwards at humans’ psychological wounds and difficulty in reconciling themselves to their present and future.
Please Look After Mom has been translated into more than thirty languages. It is Shin’s first book to appear in English and it has been met with critical acclaim; since its publication, it has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. Shin became the first Korean and first woman to receive the Man Asian Literary Prize for the English translation of Please Look After Mom in 2011.
I’ll Be Right There has been published in a number of countries, including the US, Spain, China, Poland, Italy, and Norway, and the English edition was published in June 2014. It has been received rave reviews by media outlets including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Guardian, Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly and put on must-read lists in many countries. It was included in the list of “30 Books You Need To Read in 2014” by the Huffington Post. It was also named as “the best foreign literature in the 21st Century” in China and “the best book of the winter 2012” in Poland.
Shin has been honored with the Man Asian Literary Prize, the Manhae Prize, the Dong-in Literary Award, the Yi Sang Literary Prize, and France’s Prix de l’Inaperçu in 2009 for the French translation of her work, A Lone Room (La Chambre Solitaire), as well as the Ho-Am Prize in the Arts, awarded for her body of work for general achievement in Korean culture and the arts. She was a visiting scholar at Columbia University in 2011 and has been serving as goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. Since her international success with Please Look After Mom, Shin has been participating in many international events for writers as a speaker.