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Hwang Sun-won
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Author
    (March 26, 1915-September 14, 2000)
    Born in Tae-dong, Korea (North)
    Korean literary icon
    Also known by the pen name, Hwang Sunwŏn (or Sun-won Hwang)
    Influential figure in modern Korean literature since its genesis in the 1930s
    Graduated from Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan with a degree in English
    Emigrated from the Soviet-occupied North, along with his parents, wife, and children, for the American-occupied Southern peninsula, in 1946
    Was later displaced, with his family, during the Korean Civil War (1950-1953), before settling in Seoul to work as a teacher
    Taught at Kyung Hee University in South Korea, beginning in 1957 until his death in 2000
    Literary output over seven decades included two volumes of poetry, eight collections of short stories, and seven novels
    Best known novels include 'The Descendants of Cain,' 'The Moving Castle,' 'Sunlight, Moonlight,' and 'Trees on a Slope'
    Best known short stories include 'Stars,' 'Old Man Hwang,' 'The Old Potter,' 'Cloudburst,' 'Cranes,' and 'Rain Shower'
    He was a perfectionist.
    His name makes for a tongue-twister yielding the word 'swan song.'
    Some of his works have been difficult to translate to English.
    His later literary works largely ignored the problems facing modern Korean society (war, colonialism, industrialization, dictatorships, the Cold War, etc.).
    His famed 'Rain Shower'/'Sonagi' story has inspired many campy reenactments in Korean media, ranging from first-rate depictions to low-grade ones.
    So inseparable has the short story been from his name that it overshadows his extensive body of literary works, even inspiring a Korean tourist attraction and museum, the Sonagi Village (established in 2009).
    He produced his first two volumes of poetry when he was barely 21.
    Although his literary debut was as a middle school student when several of his poems were published locally, in 1931.
    His father was imprisoned for a year and a half for his participation in the Korean Independence movement (1919).
    He spent time working as a high school teacher in Seoul, during the period surrounding the Korean War.
    His versatility in style, genre, and form expanded as he aged.
    He was recognized with the Asia Freedom Literature Prize, in 1955.
    He remained prolific during World War II, even as the Japanese government outlawed writing in the Korean language.
    Rather he penned his works in secrecy at his rural home, with no guarantee that they would ever be published.
    Almost as many of his famous stories were penned while he was a refugee with his family during the Korean Civil War.
    He has been widely praised as the O. Henry of his home country; the undisputed master of the Korean short story.
    The picturesque settings in many of his stories have been known to stir nostalgic emotions for many of Korean heritage.
    He broke ground in Korean literature by focusing not on the historical events themselves, but rather how they shaped the will and spirit in ordinary Korean life (rendering his work more universal as a result).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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