“I have known the name of the writer, Lee Hyo-seok, since I was in high school, but when I received the Lee Hyo-seok Literary Award, the name seemed unfamiliar to me. Because this award is named after the famous writer, it made my heart flutter." This is part of the acceptance speech made by Yoon Go-eun, the winner of the 2011 Lee Hyo-seok Literary Award. After she started her literary career at the age of 25, she was awarded various prizes such as the Daesan College Literary Award and the Hankyoreh Literary Award. So far, Yoon Go-eun, who graduated from the Department of Creative Writing at Dongguk University, has written many short stories and one long novel. The Post interviewed this young and promising writer this month.
The Post met this young and creative writer in a coffee shop adjacent to Myeongdong Catholic Church. She greeted the reporters with a big smile on her face. First, she passionately talked about how she decided to become a novelist. "In fact, when I first entered university, my dream was not becoming a novelist. I liked to write and create stories in high school, and at first I wanted to become a scriptwriter for TV or radio programs. However, at university, I realized the charm of pure literature, novels, so I decided to become a novelist." She added that her college years at Dongguk helped her realize a life as a writer. Because the number of the students in the Department of Creative Writing was about 30, she could get along with almost every student and talk about their future careers not only on campus but also off campus. In addition, because the student-teacher ratio was quite low, she had more chances to converse with the professors.
Therefore, she said there were not many differences between a real class and a casual conversation between students and professors. By talking with seniors and professors, she was able to learn what a writer's life is like, but she regretted not getting involved in other activities besides writing. She said, "If I could go back to my college days, I would actively participate in various club activities such as hiking." After talking about how she decided to choose her present career, The Post asked about her actual career life as a novelist. When asked about the Daesan College Literary Award (DCLA), which made her start her writing career, she modestly said, "I was really lucky at that time. Most seniors worry about their future careers, but my piece, Piercing, was selected and my writing was acknowledged for the first time." She said the DCLA served as a milestone in her writing career. Before receiving the award, her dream to become a novelist was a bit vague, but the award gave her a great deal of confidence.
Looking at her fancy profile, some people might wonder why she stopped writing for about four years right after receiving the first award. She said the four years were a very important period in her life. She said, "I could say those years were like puberty in my career life. To me, writing is one part of my life, not everything in my life. So I wondered why I wanted to be a novelist and tried to find my identity during those years." Then The Post asked, "Did you find the answer to those questions?" She answered with a smile, "That's why I am a novelist today. I thought a lot and realized that I become special when I write." Naturally, we started to talk about a current issue that she received the 12th Lee Hyo-seok Literary Award. "The timing was amazing. Because of another work, I was staying in Bongpyeong. Then, I got a phone call from the Lee Hyo-seok Cultural Properties Committee that my piece, Hippocampus, Fly was chosen for the 12th award. You know that awards ceremony is annually held in Bongpyeong in memory of the writer Lee Hyo-seok." The novel is about a woman who works for a company called Hippocampus 005, which receives calls from drunken people and never tells others about what they heard from those drunken people.
Through the novel, she wanted to depict a lonely society which requires money even when interacting with others. As we can see from the plot of Hippocampus, Fly, Yoon's novels are creative and imaginative. Most of her novels include imaginative jobs and marvelous news. She said her creativity comes from her unconsciousness. She said ideas all of a sudden pop out from her brain. It seems that Yoon is quite satisfied with her career. She said she first felt satisfaction from her writing when she read a review of her book from a reader on the Internet. "One reader posted on my homepage that the novel was helpful to overcome his life difficulties. At that time, I was proud of myself." When asked about her future dreams, she said she wants to write pieces as long as she can with enjoyment. Her last words were a comment to her juniors dreaming of being novelists or writers. "A variety of experiences are the most important.
Also, try to make a recording habit. Though people have various experiences, when they sit down and begin to think of a subject to write about, they cannot remember every experience. So you should record everything you see, hear, feel, and so on. And don't forget to nurture relationships between people. Perhaps that is the most important thing (laugh) for your future at university."
Park Sung-yoon firstname.lastname@example.org
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