PEN Out Loud: Cheon Myeong-kwan + Chi Young Kim

South Korean writer Cheon Myeong-kwan is celebrated for his surprising, propulsive narratives of aspiration, failure, family, and loneliness in his diverse works for page and screen. Embraced as a contemporary classic in South Korea for years, the 2022 English translation of Cheon Myeong-kwan’s 2004 award-winning debut novel Whale by Los Angeles-based translator Chi-Young Kim is a finalist for the International Booker Prize. On June 8, the author will join translator Chi-Young Kim during a rare visit to LA for a reading and conversation on writing across time and borders, the art of translation, and the unique and robust literary scene of South Korea.

This program is co-presented with the Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles, Second Home Hollywood, and Skylight Books, and is made possible in part by the support of the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.

Book sales will be available before and following the program courtesy of Skylight Books.



Cheon Myeong-kwan is a South Korean novelist and screenwriter. Upon publication of his first story, “Frank and I” (2003), he received the prestigious Munhakdongne New Writer Award. His debut novel, Whale, was published the following year, won the 10th Munhakdongne Novel Award and became one of the most loved novels in South Korea, where it is regarded as a modern classic. His novels have been translated into Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Thai, Turkish, Russian, and Vietnamese.


Chi-Young Kim is a literary translator and editor based in Los Angeles. A recipient of the Man Asian Literary Prize for her work on Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin (2011), she has translated over a dozen books, including works by Ae-ran Kim, You-jeong Jeong, and Young-ha Kim, among others.



Korean Language Program, Sejong Institute Los Angeles - KCCLA

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