About Pak Kyongni

Pak Kyongni

Pak Kyongni(1926~2008) was a prominent Korean novelist and an influential figure in the history of modern Korean literature. She wrote numerous books in her career that spanned more than five decades after her literary debut in 1955. The most renowned work of her own is the 20-volume epic novel Land (Toji), written in 5 parts between 1969 and 1994. It chronicles the lives of several individuals against a socio-political backdrop of Korea from the late nineteenth century to the end of the Japanese imperialism in 1945.
This masterpiece has been listed in the UNESCO Collection of Representative Works. Pak was also well-loved for her commitment to the promotion and development of Korean literature and to a philosophy of life rooted in the appreciation of nature. The Toji Cultural Foundation was established by the writer Pak Kyongni in 1996.
On June, 1999, she also opened the Toji Cultural Center.
The Toji Cultural Center provides space for art & literature workshops and seminars. In addition, the center runs a successful residency program for writers and artists from Korea and abroad. She was awarded numerous prizes and honors, including Woltan Literature Award, the Inchon Award, and the Ho-Am Prize in the Arts. She was conferred the Geumgwan Order of Culture Merit, South Korea's highest artistic accolade, posthumously.
In June 2018, a statue of Pak Kyongni was set up at the University of Saint Petersburg in Russia, which was the first statue of a Korean writer in established outside of Korea. In addition, you can see the same statue not only at Toji Cultural Center in Wonju, but also in Tongyeong and Hadong.



Land (Toji)

As the greatest masterpiece of Korean literature, Land (Toji) is a monumental epic novel in 20 volumes that weaves shifting fortunes of a single clan into the turbulent history of modern Korea. The work begins during the final days of the Joseon dynasty and ends with Korea’s liberation from Japanese rule; as the narrative follows four generations of the Choi’s clan, a family of wealthy landowners in Hadong region of Gyeongsangnam-do, their lives become witness to the cataclysmic changes in Korean society, from the dissolution of the traditional sociopolitical hierarchy and family system, to the influx of Western materialism, and finally to the reality of colonial domination and concomitant struggle for independence. Underlying the work’s grand scale and acute historical awareness is the fundamental affirmation of life. Land, invoking the double image of the womb and the tomb, embraces human suffering and gestures toward healing. Pak Kyongni’s ability to keep in sight both the minute and the grand, to relate events of personal importance to the national context in which they occur, as well as to intimate a philosophical insight regarding human nature itself, has made Land a modern classic. This novel was made into a TV series in Korea several times. It was also published with several languages including English, French and Japanese.






List of major works

Novels


Calculation (Gyesan, 1955)
Black and Black and White and White (Heukheuk Baekbaek, 1956)
The Age of Distrust (Bulsin Sidae, 1957)
Love Song (Ahega)
The Age of Darkness (Amheuk Sidae 1958)
Drifting Island (Pyoryudo, 1959)
A Saintly Woman and a Witch (1960)
The Daughters of Pharmacist Kim (Kimyakgukui Ttaldeul, 1962)
Pasi (1964)
The Market and the Battlefield (Sijang gwa Jeonjang)
Green Zone (Nokjidae, 1965)
Land (Toji, 1969~1994)

Poems


The Boat That Couldn’t Leave
City of Cats
Our Hours
Left Only with What I live leave, Lightness (Posthumous)

Major Awards


The Woltan Literature Award (1972)
The Inchon Award (1990)
The Bogwan Order of Cultural Merit (1992)
The Gabriela Mistral Prize (1996)
Order of Cultural Merit, Geum-gwan (Gold Cross) Medal (posthumous)

Essays


Dear Mr Q
Wonju Communication
Land of the Great Wall
Create a Dreaming Self
The Pain of Life

Career


Honorary doctorate, Ewha Womans University
Professor Emeritus, Yonsei University
Founder and Chairperson, Toji Cultural Foundation (1999~2008)

Translation


Translated into
Land (Toji): English, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Chinese
The Daughters of Pharmacist Kim: English,Russian, German ,Chinese, French
The Market and the Battlefield: French,German

 




Land (Toji), English


Land (Toji), Chinese


Land (Toji), French


Land (Toji), German


Land (Toji), Japanese


Land (Toji), Russian


The Daughters of Pharmacist Kim, English


The Daughters of Pharmacist Kim, French


The Daughters of Pharmacist Kim, German





The Daughters of Pharmacist Kim, Russian


The Market and the Battlefield, French




Related Links


http://londonkoreanlinks.net/2011/05/14/park-kyung-ni-land-launch/
http://www.amazon.com/Land-v-2-Pak-Kyung-ni/dp/1906876045
http://articles.latimes.com/1996-09-15/books/bk-43990_1_park-kyong-ni
https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/journal_of_korean_studies/v018/18.1.cho.pdf
http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2015/12/113_193551.html




Spaces, facilities, and events to commemorate Pak Kyongni


Wonju City



Wonju Pak Kyongni Literary Park



Pak Kyongni’s Old House
Pak Kyongni lived in this house in Wonju for 16 years after leaving Seoul in 1980. Here she wrote Parts Four and Five of Land and tended a vegetable garden in her spare time. It was in this house that Pak completed Land at 2 am on 15 August 1994. At one point, the house was in danger of being torn down as part of the Korea Land and House Corporation’s plan for housing land development. However, thanks to an opposition campaign launched by Pak’s devoted readers, citizens of Wonju, and fellow writers, the house was preserved. The first floor has been left just as it was when the author lived and worked there, while the second floor has been turned into a reception room for writers and artists. The pond that Pak Kyongni had built for her grandchildren and her vegetable garden remain in the courtyard. Also found in the garden is a life-size statue of Pak Kyongni (sculpted by Shim Jeong-soo), seemingly gazing up at Mt. Chiak.




The Pak Kyongni Literary House
Pak Kyongni believed that it would be “wrong to commemorate the life and works of a living author.” Therefore, as per her wish, the site was converted into a neighborhood park at the time of its construction in 1999. After Pak’s death, the city of Wonju purchased the surrounding buildings in 2010 and created a space to display the author’s photographs, belongings, and the novel Land. Also added were a library and a hall used for literary events.




The Book Cafe
On the first floor, there is ample space for reading or relaxing. The second floor is used for special art & culture exhibitions as well as the permanent exhibition. Rare historical materials (donated by Choi Hee-woong) and textbooks from the Japanese colonial era on display illustrate the contextual background of Land.




Key Events
Various events are held throughout the year including Toji Day (15 August), Toji School for Children, Toji School for Youths, Toji School, Pak Kyongni Poetry Reading Competition, Toji School of Korean History, Women’s Culture Class, Illustrated Poetry Exhibition, Korean Poetry Writing Contest, Poetry Reading Class, Pak Kyongni Literature Concert, and Pak Kyongni Literary Park UCC Contest.




Address: Toji-gil 1 (Dangu-dong 1620-5), Wonju-si, Gangwon-do
Phone: 033-762-6843
Fax: 033-737-4885
Website: www.tojipark.com
Opening House: 10:00~17:00 (Closed on the 4th Monday of each month.)






The Pak Kyongni House

After leaving her old house in Dangu-dong in 1996, Pak Kyongni lived in this house until her death. Here she did much reading and writing and provided resident writers and artists with food made with vegetables she grew herself. The house has a living room, a master bedroom, and a basement library (now used as a visual image room). Before the end of the first year, the basement library was flooded and many of Pak Kyongni’s handwritten manuscripts, photographs, and research she had collected for her work were destroyed. Later, irrigation ditches were dug in the hill behind the house and a pond was built to prevent further flooding. Outside, visitors will find a stone wall and the garden built and cared for by the author herself.

Address: Maejihoechongil 79 (576 Maeji-ri), Heungeop-myeon, Wonju-si, Gangwon-do







The Pak Kyongni Memorial Stone

Some faculty members at Yonsei University, where Pak Kyongni taught literature from Autumn 1991 to Spring 1992, raised funds for this project. With the help of Professor Ahn Sang-soo, Professor Lee An-jin (both at Hongik University) manufactured 16 porcelain bricks, on which selected sentences from For Youths on the Path to Literature were inscribed.

Address: Cheongsong Hall, Yonsei University Wonju Campus, Yonseidae-gil 1, Wonju-si, Gangwon-do










Tongyeong City


It is located in Tongyeong city, way down south from Seoul and close to the sea. Tongyeong city is where the late Pak Kyongni was born and took an education from the elementary school to the high school. Pak Kyongni Memorial Hall in Tongyeong city was established with the theme of Pak Kyongni’s novel, Daughters of Pharmacist Kim. Memorial park was also built.

Address 173, Sanyangjungang-ro, Sanyang-eup, Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Korea











Hadong County


Symposiums of Toji Academy are held in May ever year. Toji Literature Festival is also held in October every year.

- Pak Kyongni Literature Hall: It is located in Hadong county. Hadong county is geographically close to Tongyeong. Pak Kyongni Literature Hall was built with the theme of Toji.

- Vice Minister Choi’s House: It was established with facilities that were shown in vice minister Choi’s house. Vice minister Choi’s house is one of backgrounds that appear in novel, Toji. The House is also used for TV drama shootings



Address 79, Pyeongsari-gil, Agyang-myeon, Hadong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do, Korea













Saint Petersburg of Russia


The bronze statue of Russia’s great writer, Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin, was set up in 2013 in Korea. As a token of appreciation, the bronze statue of Pak Kyongni was established inside Modern Sculpture Park of Saint Petersburg University on 20 June, 2018. Nikolai Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University and chairperson of Russia in Korea-Russia Dialogue, asked for the translation of Toji into Russian in 2014. Literature Translation Institution of Korea financed the translation project of Toji as part of the project to prepare for the establishment of the bronze statue of Pak Kyongni and published the volume 1 as its result in November 2016. Data related to Pak Kyongni were digitalized and put on display in Library for Presidents of Russia from December 2016. Until 2017, joint Korea-Russia seminars on Pak Kyongni were held. Starting in the first semester of the year 2017, regular classes and lectures on Pak Kyongni are offered in Asian Languages and Cultures Department, Asia and Africa Studies Department, and History Department. Seok Yeong-joong, chairperson of culture and art section of Korea-Russia Dialogue, published a series of Korea-Russia Dialogue that covers all aspects of the life and writing trajectory of Pak Kyongni both in Korean and Russian languages and sent the copies to Russia. Besides, Saint Petersburg University made videos about lectures of Pak Kyongni and provides video streaming service to national universities and private universities of Russia for actual use in classes.

Setting up the bronze statue of Pak Kyongni turned out that classes of Korean Studies, which were not offered uniformly in the Department of Asian Studies, were integrated all into Korean Studies Department. Korean Studies Department was newly established in June 2017. Many projects of researches, studies, translations on literary works of the late Pak Kyongni as well as on Korean Literature are actively carried out. The year of 2019 was the first year of Pak Kyongni Literature Festival to commemorate the establishment of her bronze statue on June 20. The event was held in Saint Petersburg University with Korea-Russia Dialogue. The event will continue to be held in Saint Petersburg University on 20 June 2019 every year.








International Event



2019 Pak Kyongni Literature held at the University of St. Petersburg



2019 Pak Kyongni Literature Festival at St. Petersburg University. The event is to commemorate setting-up of a statue of Pak Kyongni at the university 2018.



Publication Celebration Event, Japan 2018.6

Pak kyongni Memorial Literary Event, Germany,2008

Publication Celebration Literary Event, UK 2011.5