LTI Korea launches web platform to facilitate global publications of Korean literature

KLWAVE aims to link local and global publishing houses, authors and translators of Korean literature

As part of its mission to promote and facilitate the translation and international publication of Korean literature, the Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea) has launched a new website called KLWAVE (Korean Literature Wave).

“It’s a one-stop platform aiming to provide all necessary information for publishing houses, agencies, authors, translators and readers within and outside of Korea to help the translation, publication and cultural exchange of Korean literature,” LTI Korea President Kwak Hyo-hwan said during a press conference held in central Seoul, Monday, to announce the launch of the website.

Providing its service in English and Korean, KLWAVE will connect local and overseas publishers (B2B) and publishing houses and readers (B2C), informing the users of the latest status of translation for each Korean literary work as well as the country’s current literary scene.

Facilitating communication between Korean and global copyright holders has always been a crucial yet neglected task in the publishing field.

“The amount of market-related information on Korean literature that international publishers can access has long been limited, with the exception of a few well-known works like Han Kang’s International Booker Prize-winning ‘The Vegetarian’,” Kwak said.

“The case wasn’t too different for domestic publishing houses, since they could only establish real contact with their global counterparts at annual events like the Frankfurt Book Fair or simply stumble upon sporadic calls from parties interested in purchasing the publishing rights,” he added.

KLWAVE attempts to address this weakness by providing essential details of Korean authors and their books ― including a summary, the status of translation, copyright information, contacts, translation samples of unpublished titles and reviews ― as well as translators.

Currently, information on 1,088 Korean authors, 4,735 translated titles and 39 translators can be accessed via the platform. The LTI Korea president stressed that the project remains an ongoing one that will undergo constant updates according to the users’ needs for the next three to five years.

The website also offers free e-book versions of select Korean classics translated into English and resources about LTI Korea’s translation and publication grants.

The launch of KLWAVE also coincided with the state-run organization’s publication of the first issue of its diaspora-themed web magazine “nomo,” meaning “beyond” in Korean.

The quarterly online magazine centers on diaspora literature penned in the Korean language by ethnic and overseas Korean authors, North Korean defectors, as well as polyglot foreign nationals.

“While it’s important to translate and publish Korean literary works into another language to reach readers overseas, I believe it’s equally essential to gather the stories of diasporic existence that are written in Korean and are scattered around the world into one platform, thereby expanding the scope and definition of Korean writing itself,” Kwak noted.

The first issue of nomo contains short stories, poems and essays penned by authors from North Korea, the United States, China, Japan, Kazakhstan and Turkey.

The magazine has also established a literary award to discover and support up-and-coming authors writing in the Korean language ― ethnic Koreans and foreign nationals. The first edition of the prize will accept submissions in three categories ― short story, poem and nonfiction essay ― until March 10, 2023, and is set to announce the winners in June.

This article was first published at The Korean Times, on November 15, 2022.


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