SEOUL – Czech publisher to start Korean literature series
25.06.2013 / 03:02
Leading Czech publishing house Argo is to start a series of Czech translations of modern and contemporary Korean literary works. In a cooperation with Literature Translation Institute of Korea ten Korean novels will be introduced by Argo on Czech market in a matter of four years.
photo by Richard Klíčník
On June 21, 2013 Mr. Milan Gelnar, the president of Argo publishing house (www.argo.cz) has signed a speciál agreement with Mr. Kim Seong-Kon, President of Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI – www.klti.or.kr) which will result in ten books of modern and contemporary Korean writers to be introduced on highly competitive Czech market. The signing ceremony was witnessed by H.E. Jaroslav Olša, jr., Ambassador of the Czech Republic and Michaela Lee and Petra Hovorková of recently established Czech Centre Seoul (http://seoul.czechcentres.cz). Both institutions have been instrumental in arranging the agreement and will be collaborated with both LTI Korea and Argo in selecting the best possible Korean books to Czech readers. Argo is only the 4th publisher, who signed similar agreement with LTI Korea, and only the first European one. The first book in a series – Han Mu-sook´s Mannam – is to be published later this year, to be followed by novels written by Kim Young-ha and Yi Munyol in early 2014.
Established soon after the fall of the communist regime, Argo was celebrating its 20th anniversary last year. Having published almost 2,000 titles since 1992, Argo has become a major Czech publisher; it is renowned for its vast list of literary fiction, nonfiction and poetry, as well as trade and mass market fiction. Among his authors, you can find Haruki Murakami, Paulo Coelho, Robert Fulghum, Umberto Eco or Cormac McCarthy , but also Czech bestselling writers, such as Miloš Urban, whose first translation into Korean is forthcoming. Argo books have won extraordinary acclaim over the years, including numerous literary awards, both Czech and international; due to thein books’ success and quality, Argo has become the trend-setter and the market leader in the Czech Republic, combining literary excellence with commercial success.
There is a long tradition in translating Korean literature into Czech, which started in 1925 with publication of two volumes of Korean fairy tales and followed in 1933, when the first (of five) editions of Younghill Kang´s novel The Grass Roof was published in Prague. In 1947, the first direct translation from Korean into Czech – Kim Nam-cheon´s novel Daeha - was published to be followed by not less than 50 other books translated directly from Korean, aminy them being classics by Kim Man-jung or Kim Sakkat, as well as poems by such masters as Ko Un. Alas, only a handful novels by modern and contemporary authors saw the print in Czech, in addition to three short story anthologies, novels by Han Mal-suk, Hwang Sun-won and Hong Sung-hwa, were published. Such a project is thus an important vehikle for promoting contemporary Korea in the Czech Republic.
More photos could be found on a web of LTI Korea