The London Book Fair – Korea Market Focus 2014

Written by on April 9, 2014 in Korea Abroad

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This spring at the annual London Book Fair, the UK has chosen Korea as the market focus. The Book Fair will be giving the UK public a very full three-day schedule packed full of events, from cultural and professional programmes to authors of the day and a huge range of exhibitors. With a different country spotlighted each year for the market focus, 2014 was Korea’s turn. But what is it that makes Korea a great place to look at for literature?

The 2014 Market Focus Cultural Programme will bring the best in contemporary Korean writing and publishing to the UK, giving UK audiences a rare opportunity to meet and interact with Korean writers. quote

Korea is one of the top 10 book markets in the world in terms of the market volume, thus it is not surprising that the country is chosen as the Market Focus at the London Book Fair 2014. Korean publishers have been active buyers of foreign copyrights and over the last few decades, they have been also providing international publishers with quality contents. quote

The market focus is an opportunity for South Korea and the UK to further cultural and business relations, as well as educating the global publishing community on literature and contemporary publishing from Korea. It’s also a chance for Korean authors to get their works seen on an international level; a chance for Koreans to get noticed. And also allowing the British public to have unrivaled access to amazing writers and works of literature that would have been hard to uncover otherwise.

book fair 7Looking at statistics on Korea’s publishing industry it’s no wonder that the country’s been chosen for the Market Focus this year. Korea’s overflowing with literature talents and now is the perfect opportunity for the public to get a look at what it has to offer. When we were in South Korea last, we spent many a fun time wondering around book markets and shops, from small street side vendors, to huge stores that seemed like they had every book under the sun. It’s great to be able to see some of Korea’s book culture being on display for the British people to see first hand. A full brochure all about the Korea Market Focus, including events and authors attending is available here.

The fair’s events are split into several categories, including cultural programmes, book fair 1professional programmes and exhibitors. The cultural programme is made up of six events from speakers and panels talks, looking at the landscape of Korean literature, to influences and society. The professional programme consists of seminars designed for those working in the publishing or literary world, looking at issues and the current climate of Korean publishing. There are around 25 exhibitors from Korea this year, including stands like book binding services, children books, and using technology to make reading more interactive. There are also general events you can attend, which can be seen here. These are mostly talks by authors and panel discussions, some very interesting ways to get more involved!

Main London Book Fair Details

Dates: 8th, 9th, 10th April 2014
Location: Earl’s Court, London
General Pricing & How to Attend: Varies according to what you want to view. See here for all details.
List of Korean events
List of Korean cultural programmes
List of Korean professional programmes
Korean Exhibitor list

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The fun isn’t just limited to events at Earl’s Court, there are plenty of events happening around London AND in other cities too!


Mon 7th April
Tales from Korea
Join English PEN for an evening with acclaimed writer Hwang Sok-yong and British novelist Adam Foulds. Hwang Sok-yong will be talking about extraordinary life, experience of incarceration and how he uses folk-tales to convey challenging contemporary themes. This event will be chaired by Boyd Tonkin.
Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA
Tickets: £4, book online

Tues 8th April
Korean Literature: Past and Present
A rare opportunity to learn about the story of Korean literature, from beautiful early printed books, many housed in the British Library, to the vibrant contemporary scene. Present will be one of the finest Korean novelists, Yi Mun-yol, whose translated titles include The Poet and Our Twisted Hero. He talks to Grace Koh and others about writing in a culture which is both time-honoured and hyper-modern.
British Library, Terrace Restaurant, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
Tickets: £5 (£4 Over 60s / £3 Concessions), book online

Tues 8th April
Webtoons, A New Trend in Korean Digital Comics
A special talk with Korean webtoon writer, Yoon Tae-ho, famous for his unique works such asMoss, later adapted into the successful film of the same name. This event will provide the audience with a better understanding of the Koreanmanhwa, a genre with a rich history, and the opportunity to discover the potential of webtoons as a new genre of comics.
Korean Cultural Centre, Grand Buildings, 1-3 Strand, London WC2N 5BW
Tickets: Free but limited, reserve your place

Thurs 10th April
Authors from Korea, Pakistan and Singapore discuss their work and the question: How does the partition of a country and divisions of families affect its society and their work as writers? With Kyung-sook Shin, Qaisra Shahraz and Krys Lee.
Supported by Pan Asian Women’s Association. This event is part of The Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival.
Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 7LP
Tickets: £10 (£8 Concessions / £6 Friends), book online at

Thurs 10th April
Reading and Discussion with Kim Hyesoon
Join us for an evening of poetry by one of South Korea’s most important contemporary poets, Kim Hyesoon. Her experimental, unsettling poetry combines extreme, surreal and often violent imagery with a radical exploration of the female experience. This reading is hosted by Modern Poetry in Translation (MPT) to celebrate new publications of Kim Hyesoon’s work in the spring issue, and a new Bloodaxe edition of Kim Hyesoon’s poetry I’m OK, I’m Pig!
The Poetry Library, Level 5, Royal Festival Hall, London SE1 8XX
Tickets: Free but limited, email to reserve a place

Outside of London: Cambridge, Edinburgh, Aberystwyth

The London Book Fair promises to be great fun for book worms and casual readers alike and the perfect chance to get to know more about Korean authors and literature. If you’re able to go to any of the events on offer, don’t hesitate and step into the world of the Korean written word!

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After Kpop, film and food, it’s great to see the UK take a further interest in Korea and allow British folk to discover and delve into the world of Korean literature. We can’t wait! Do you have any favourite Korean authors?

About the Author

Korean Class Massive

Blogging about everything from Korean events, art and music to films, food and Kpop, Korean Class MASSIVE write about all things Korean happening in the UK. Consisting of Emma, a film student and Korean film enthusiast, Annabel, an Ancient History graduate, and Sarah, a keen amateur photographer, they are currently all studying Korean in London and aim to spread their love for all things Korean in the UK.