Seoul International Writersâ Festival
Writers of the world unite in historic Bukchon Hanok Village
A cultural festival of fantastic proportions is set to open in Bukchon, a place where tradition and modernity peacefully coexist. The Literature Translation Institute of Korea presents the Seoul International Writers’ Festival, a biennial celebration of literature from around the world. The purpose of such a gathering is to allow writers from both Korea and abroad to come together to share and discuss literature, evaluate its meaning and look ahead to what the future holds. Marking the event’s fifth celebration, this year will showcase 14 writers from Korea, including Kim Tae Yong, Hwang Jung Eun, Kim Miwol, Park Seongwon and Hae Yisoo. Also present will be 14 international writers hailing from 12 different countries, including Pulitzer Prize nominee Susan Choi from Indiana, Mongolian writer G. Ayurzana, quirky Californian writer Daniel Levin Becker, Chinese poet Yuan Tian and French poet Claude Mouchard.
Visitors will be able to witness a variety of readings and discussions. Those unfamiliar with a particular language need not worry since the festival will provide interpretation in English for all non-English readings and discussions, along with festival anthology booklets containing English and Korean translations of all non-English works. During the Free Talk sessions, teams of Korean writers and international writers will discuss each other’s works, as well as share their views on literature and creative composition. Audience members will be able to ask the authors questions and will be gifted with a collection of essays titled “Eros and Dream.”
VENUE: W Stage, Bukchon Changwoo Theater, Gallery NaMu
PERIOD: Sep. 21–27
MORE INFO: http://siwf.klti.or.kr
GETTING THERE: See this link.
AROUND THE WEB
A miscellany of high-quality hyperlinks from the week, courtesy of SEOUL editor-in-chief Robert Koehler.
2014 European Jazz Festival
The 2014 European Jazz Festival is the perfect way to experience the unique sounds and atmosphere of European jazz in Seoul! Join 13 bands hailing from nine different countries for three nights of groovy fun. The festival was introduced to Korea last year, finally offering Seoulites a plethora of jazz musicians from various European countries all in one event. Although often grouped into a single category, European jazz actually reflects a variety of styles and interpretations, with each country boasting its own unique culture and musical texture. Despite being born in the United States, jazz quickly spread to continental Europe through the two World Wars, developing a different flavor in each nation. See how the jazz of Europe has evolved over the past half-century into its own unique set of sub-genres. The festival will feature some of Europeâs most recognized jazz veterans, including solo pianist John Taylor from the U.K., pianist Bobo Stenson from Sweden, and Swiss artist Thierry Lang (who made a splash in Korea in the â90s with his album âPrivate Gardenâ). Joining them will be Anders Jormin, another musician making an impression on jazz fans in Northern Europe.
VENUE: BBCH Hall
PERIOD: Sep. 19–21
ADMISSION: KRW 40,000–80,000
GETTING THERE: A short walk from Exit 5 of Apgujeong Station, Line 3.
2014 Disney in Concert
Are you one of those people who loves songs from Disney movies, no matter how old you get? Disney in Concert offers the perfect concert experience for those who love to sing along to classics like “Beauty and the Beast” and contemporary hits like “Let it Go.” Since the studioâs first animated feature in 1937, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Disney has captured the hearts of both children and adults worldwide with a brilliant blend of emotional music and enrapturing storytelling. The music in this magical concert will be performed by the Ditto Orchestra, a group of about 70 young musicians who’ve been trained around the world, forming a dynamic ensemble that isnât afraid to jump between genres. The orchestra will be led by conductor Adriel Kim, who began playing the violin at 8 years old before debuting at age 13 with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. After studying in Vienna, he performed with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2007. A talented musician in his own right, Kim won first prize at the Pietra Ligure International Violin Competition in 2000. Watch him and the Ditto Orchestra perform Disney classics that are sure to bring out your inner child.
VENUE: Olympic Park
PERIOD: Sep. 20–21
MORE INFO: T. 02-1577-5266, www.olympicpark.co.kr
ADMISSION: KRW 30,000–160,000
GETTING THERE: Olympic Park Station ì¬ë¦¼í½ê³µìì (Line 5), Exit 3
Mindungsan Eulalia Festival
At 1,118.8 meters, Mt. Mindungsan in Jeongseon, Gangwon-do, is not the tallest mountain in Korea, but is still fairly unique; rather than the lush forests found atop other peaks around the peninsula, its summit is almost devoid of trees (hence the mountain’s name, which means “empty mountain”), covered instead by great fields of Eulalia grass. In September, the treeless expanses transform into great silver and gold grasslands of reeds waving in the wind like a silver sea. It’s really quite a spectacular sight.
Most visitors to the festival come to hike up to the giant fields of reeds. There are plenty of other things to take in at the festival, though, with cultural performances, concerts, rock climbing contents, photo exhibits and much, much more.
VENUE: Jeongseon, Gangwon-do
PERIOD: Sep. 19–Oct 26
MORE INFO: T. 033-591-9141
GETTING THERE: Buses to Jeongseon depart from Seoulâs Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (Travel time: 3 hours, 40 minutes). From Jeongseon, take a local bus to Nam-myeon.
RASKB: Seonunsa Temple and an Onggi Potter
The RASKB will visit an ancient temple, Seonunsa, in the province of Jeollabuk-do. In springtime Seonunsa is celebrated for the flowering of the forest of native Korean camellias standing just behind it. In September, a special festival celebrates the blossoming of another flower, the Lycoris radiata or red spider lily, which has always bloomed here but has recently been planted in large quantities. This delicate red flower, belonging to the daffodil family, blooms in early autumn while the leaves flourish in winter and early spring. This has inspired ideas of a sad love story since flowers and leaves are condemned never to meet. The red of the flowers contrasting with the surrounding green of trees and lawns makes for wonderful photographs. We will visit the temple and have some free time allowing each one to enjoy the natural beauty of the spot.
VENUE: Seonunsa Temple, Jeollabuk-do
DATE: Sep. 21
MORE INFO: See this link
COST: KRW 69,000–82,800
GETTING THERE: See link above.
Strolling around Bukchon Hanok Village. Photographed by Robert Koehler.