The Inha Times met writer Kim Keum-hui, an alumna of Inha University who majored in Korean Language and Literature. She recently won the Young People's Literature Prize 2016.
The Inha Times (IT): First of all, congratulations on being awarded the Young People's Literature Prize 2016. Your literary career really started to blossom when your book Your Document won the annual Hankook Ilbo Literary Prize in 2009. How did you begin your literary career?
Kim Keum-hui: I worked for a publishing house, but I quit that job so that I could write a novel. I then began submitting parts of this novel to a newspaper, and so began my literary career!
IT: What motivated you to become a writer?
Kim Keum-hui: I have liked reading and wanted to be a writer since I was a child, so when deciding to go to university, I chose to study Korean Language and Literature at Inha University. My main motivation for becoming a writer was that literature is a great medium through which to embrace humanity and express progressive ideas.
IT: Quite a lot of your works are set in Incheon. Is there any particular reason for this?
Kim Keum-hui: I often try to write about that with which I am well acquainted, so writing about Incheon, the place where I grew up, seems a natural setting for a lot of my work.
IT: What, for you, constitutes ‘good writing’?
Kim Keum-hui: I think that honest writing is good writing.
IT: What kind of writer do you hope to be perceived as?
Kim Keum-hui: I want to be relevant to my readers’ lives. I want to help people recognise the meaning in their lives. Sometimes, the life of an artist can seem far removed from the ‘everyday’ lives of others, but hopefully my works show that my life is not so different to the lives of my readers.
IT: Lastly, have you got anything that you would like to say to our Inha Times readers?
Kim Keum-hui: Hi, students. When I write, many happy memories from my time at Inha University often come to mind. Building 5’s College of Humanities, Ingyeonho Lake, Heidegger’s Forest, ‘Inha Books’ on the fourth floor of Biryong Plaza, and Siberia Plaza near the College of Engineering are all places that I remember vividly. My memories of Inha are sometimes painful, but usually of a warm nostalgia. I hope that your university experiences are enjoyable and that you create many warm memories! Love yourself, and believe in your strength and your youth. I will be rooting for you all!
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