[Foreword] It’s Ok Even If You’re Not an Adult
I remember standing in front of a world classics series in the school library every day, my heart pounding as I agonized over what to read first. Inside these books, the world was boundless, filled with unfamiliar places, people, and experiences. From our childhood, we’ve grown up both imagining the world and experiencing it vicariously through our reading material. Our reading experiences have formed us, and the texts we’re reading now will form who we are in the future.
In this issue’s Special Section, we introduce Korean literature from the perspective of young adults. In the past, many Korean books featured adults’ idealized vision of young people, but recently there has been a trend towards greater awareness of affirming young adults as they are. More of this kind of fiction is finding a devoted readership made up of readers of all ages, and it is my hope that through this issue, we might share this literature with readers worldwide.
We will be meeting Featured Writers Yoon Sung-hee and Kim Bo-Young, and feeling the power of future-oriented writing in interviews with them. Yoon Sung-hee compares writing a story to the act of rolling snowballs to make a snowman. In her interview, we may discover where she gets the humor that gives her the strength to endure and overcome sorrow. Kim Bo-Young is a writer who has raised the bar for Korean science fiction. An unfettered imagination and a critical mind that questions what is deemed normal are some of the components of her fiction.
Also, through a discussion of the terms gagaek and nobi in our Inkstone section, we will be able to look at traditional singing culture and the Joseon class structure through a contemporary lens. In the Bookmark section, we introduce a story by Lee Yuri, who displays a lively and sensuous imagination. Finally, in Reviews, we offer honest impressions of Korean lit as relayed from many regions around the world, and I recommend them for your perusal.
Autumn is now approaching in Korea. The insects sing their fall chorus at night. Soon the leaves will turn color and the skies will appear higher. We hope that this peaceful sense of autumn in Korea is conveyed everywhere this issue is delivered.