[Feature] North Korean Fiction Outside the Mirror: Reading Contemporary North Korean Literature / Oh Chang-eun

The Quarterly Changbi 181, Autumn 2018

 

Abstract

The inter-Korean cultural division, an outcome of a prolonged division of the nation, is another serious task to be tackled. We have tried to approach it by examining concrete examples of North Korean literature. Oh Chang-eun has contributed an article on the topic, after meticulous research into recent North Korean literature at the Yanbian University Library in China. While introducing the literary world of authors highly regarded in North Korea but unknown to South Korean readers, such as So Chong-song and Kim Ryong-hae, he offers a glimpse of recent changes in North Korean literature through a recent work by Ri Jun-ho, an author whom he finds particularly noteworthy. This is a sincere and serious exploration of a way to overcome barriers between literatures in the South and North. He also persuasively argues that the processes of “acknowledging differences in each other’s literatures” and of “deepening inter-Korean dialogue for the establishment of peace on the Korean peninsula” are one and the same.