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Pak Kyongni

A writer who combines a keen critical eye with a panoramic perspective, Pak Kyongni is best known for Land (Toji, 1969-94), a monumental epic in 20 volumes that weaves shifting fortunes of a single clan into the turbulent history of modern Korea. The work begins during the final days of the Joseon dynasty and ends with Korea¡¯s liberation from Japanese rule; as the narrative follows four generations of the Choi¡¯s clan, a family of wealthy landowners in Hadong region of Gyeongsangnam-do, their lives become witness to the cataclysmic changes in Korean society, from the dissolution of the traditional sociopolitical hierarchy and family system, to the influx of Western materialism, and finally to the reality of colonial domination and concomitant struggle for independence. Underlying the work¡¯s grand scale and acute historical awareness is the fundamental affirmation of life. Land, invoking the double image of the womb and the tomb, embraces human suffering and gestures toward healing. Pak Kyongni¡¯s ability to keep in sight both the minute and the grand, to relate events of personal importance to the national context in which they occur, as well as to intimate a philosophical insight regarding human nature itself, has made Land a modern classic.

Pak Kyongni¡¯s interest in the ordinary lives of individuals living through an extraordinary age can be seen in her earlier work as well. A notable feature of Park¡¯s fiction from the 1950s is the employment of a female protagonist who has been widowed during the Korean War. ¡°The Age of Distrust¡± (Bulsin Sidae, 1957), and ¡°The Age of Darkness¡± (Amheuk Sidae, 1958) all probe the deep scars left by the war on Korean society through the eyes of the bereft; for these women who find themselves with neither material nor spiritual support for their existence, despite their intelligence and strong will, the violence of war concludes only to be followed by the violence of a corrupt post-war society. The climate of pervasive loneliness and uncertainty which turns human beings into flotsam upon turbulent waters is poignantly captured in her novel ¡°Drifting Island¡± (Pyoryudo, 1959). The novel¡¯s depiction of the psychological wanderings of a lonely woman trapped in the hardships of life provides a powerful indictment of post-war Korean society at large. After attempting a shift away from the viewpoint, setting, subject matter and techniques associated with her early works in the serialized novel ¡°The Daughters of Pharmacist Kim¡± (Kim yakgukui Ttaldeul, 1962), Park returned to the tragedy of Korean War in the acclaimed ¡°The Market and the Battlefield¡± (Sijang gwa jeonjang, 1965). Rather than follow the perspective of one central character, The Marketplace and the Battlefield traces two different kinds of lives, one that seeks to maintain everyday existence and the other engaged in the ideologies of the war. Such interest in the multilayered unfolding of history reaches its height in the aforementioned Land.

Pak Kyongni (1926-2008) was a celebrated Korean novelist and a seminal figure in the life of modern Korean literature. She wrote numerous books in a career that spanned more than five decades after her literary debut in 1955. Her best-known work is the 20-volume epic novel Land (Toji), written in 5 parts between 1969 and 1994. It chronicles the lives of several individuals against the socio-political backdrop of Korea from the late nineteenth century to the end of Japanese imperialism in 1945. This masterpiece has since been listed in the UNESCO collection of seminal works. Pak was also well-loved for her commitment to the promotion, development, and future of Korean literature and to a philosophy of life rooted in the appreciation of nature. She won several prizes and honors, including the Woltan Literature Award, the Inchon Award, and the Ho-Am Prize in the Arts. She was posthumously conferred the Geumgwan Order of Culture Merit, South Korea¡¯s highest artistic accolade.

List of major works
Novels
¡´Calculation¡µ(Gyesan, 1955)
¡´Black and Black and White and White¡µ (Heukheuk Baekbaek,1956)
¡´The Age of Distrust¡µ (Bulsin Sidae, 1957) ¡¶Love Song¡· (Ahega) ¡´The Age of Darkness¡µ (Amheuk Sidae 1958) ¡¶Drifting Island¡· (Pyoryudo, 1959) ¡¶A Saintly Woman and a Witch¡·(1960)
¡¶The Daughters of Pharmacist Kim¡· (Kimyakgukui Ttaldeul, 1962) ¡¶Pasi¡·(1964)
¡¶The Market and the Battlefield¡·(Sijang gwa Jeonjang,1965) ¡¶Green Zone¡· (Nokjidae ,1965)
¡¶Land¡· (Toji, 1969-1994)
Poems
¡¶The Boat That Couldn¡¯t Leave¡·
¡¶City of Cats¡·
¡¶Our Hours¡·
¡¶Left Only with What I live leave, a Lightness¡·
Essays
¡¶Dear Mr.Q¡·
¡¶Wonju Communication¡·
¡¶Land of the Great Wall¡·
¡¶Create a Dreaming Self¡·
¡¶The Pain of Life¡·
Major Awards
The Woltan Literature Award (1972 for Land),The Inchon Award(1990),
The Bogwan Order of Cultural Merit (awarded 1992)
The Gabriela Mistral Prize (Literature commemorative medal, awarded 1996)
Order of Cultural Merit, Geum-gwan Medal (Gold Cross, awarded posthumously)
Career
Ewha Womans University, Honorary doctorate
Professor Emeritus, Yonsei University
Toji Cultural Foundation, established and served as Chairperson(1996~2008)

 
 
 
¡°Thinking is the root of all activity and the primary source of human creation.¡±
The Toji Cultural Foundation was established for the purpose of promoting creative thinking, and fostering creative spirits and lifestyles. The Foundation also aims to facilitate a forum for international writers, artists, and scholars to discuss important contemporary issues, such as the environment and related future concerns. The Toji Cultural Center was founded to achieve these objectives. The Center is nestled near Wonju in the rural mountains of Gangwon Province and provides a tranquil and inspirational environment for promising individuals to live and work. The Foundation aspires to nurture the creative spirit of the youth for the twenty-first century through the exploration of the key principles of nature and life.

Pak Kyong Ni
Founder and former Chairperson of the Board of Trustees Toji Cultural Foundation

About Toji Cultural Foundation
Life in the 21st century is fast-paced, chaotic, and confusing. It is important now more than ever to re-examine contemporary civilization and to consider the close interconnection of humans, technology, and the environment. The Toji Cultural Foundation believes that this should be approached through two philosophical perspectives: that of life and of spirituality. The Foundation is committed to fostering research and focused discussion to investigate new ideas and models of thought that can guide our modern lives. Our primary goal is to encourage a global intercultural dialogue in which not only the wisdom of the East and the West but the valuable ancient traditions and the realities of new world can be creatively harmonized.

Kim Young Joo
Chairperson of the Board of Trustees Toji Cultural Foundation

Toji Cultural Center
¡¤ Introduction
The Toji Cultural Foundation manages the Toji Cultural Center, which was designed and built to achieve the Foundation¡¯s goals and objectives. The Center is located at Hoechon village, Maeji-ri, Heungeop-myeon, in the suburbs of Wonju-si, Gangwon Province, Korea. This site was first owned by Pak Kyong Ni until she transformed the land into a residential place for young artists, writers, and scholars with her earnings from the royalties on her books. In her later years, Pak continued to live and work on the farm within the premises, cultivating crops and preparing food for the residents at the Center. The Center, a total area of 9,920 square meters and a floor space of 2,700 square meters, comprises a four-story building with a view of the surrounding mountain scenery.

¡¤ Mission
1. The Center plans and organizes cultural and educational activities.
The Center hosts regular lectures, seminars, and symposiums about Korean literary culture. There are also programs for citizens and students on the topic of the environment as well as activities and discussions to address current youth culture. The Centre supports long-term projects and has an interest in comparative cultural studies, as well.
2. The Center promotes international cultural exchange.
The Center organizes special lectures by international writers, artists, and scholars, and hosts international academic conferences. It promotes the exchange of ideas through joint activities that study new trends in global culture. It also provides an opportunity for individuals of different nationalities to interact with other writers through its residency program.
3. The Center fosters and nurtures creative activities and scholarly research.
The Center provides not only physical but also cultural spaces that are conducive to writing, artistic creation, and research. It tries to find talented writers and artists and exceptional scholars in Korea and foreign countries and support them, so that they can formulate more clear ideas and visions for fruitful cross-fertilization of culture.
4. The Center constructs and supports a broad cultural community.
The Center, as a community for writers, artists, and scholars, manages an extensive database of cultural materials for reference. It aims to serve not only these professionals but also the general public by means of both print and online publication. Internet connection is provided to encourage meaningful discussions by artists and scholars outside the center.

¡¤ Facilities
1. Conference Facilities
The Center features a state-of-the-art audiovisual system, an auditorium for presentations and discussions, a large conference room with a capacity for 70 people that is equipped with simultaneous translation facilities, and three seminar rooms for small-group discussions.
2. Residential Facilities
The Center provides residential facilities for writers, artists, and scholars to live and work, as well as a total of 26 rooms for seminar participants. Each room is equipped with a bathroom with shower, a bed, a writing desk, a refrigerator, an electric heater, and an electric kettle.
3. Additional Facilities
The Center also includes a library, a museum, a lounge, a dining hall, and an amphitheatre with a beautiful forest as a backdrop.

¡¤ Getting to Toji Cultural Center
1. Getting to Toji Cultural Center Upon arriving at Incheon Airport, take the Airport Limousine Bus to Wonju Inter-City Bus Terminal. Then cross the road to take the Bus No. 34 that ends at Hoechon village. Alternatively, you can take a taxi at the Wonju Inter-City Bus Terminal to Toji Cultural Center.
2. If you are driving, take the Young-Dong Expressway and follow the Chungju exit at South-Wonju IC. Then take National Highway 19 towards Chung-Ju and turn left at approximately 2 km after Yonsei University, Wonju Campus. Follow this road until you reach Toji Cultural Center on the left.

Maejihoechongil 79(570 Maeji-ri, Heungeop-myeon) Wonju-si, Gangwon-do, Korea.
Tel,Fax 82-33-766-5544. 762-1382
Fax 82-33-766-5545
E-mail: tojicul@chol.com

 
 
 

Programme for Supporting Creative Works and Cultural Exchanges by
Foreign Writers, Artists and Scholars

BACKGROUND
The Toji Cultural Foundation supports work created by Korean writers, scholars and artists. Startedas a seed program in the belief that writers, scholars and artists should be liberated from their busy daily lives to dedicate their time entirely to creating their works. The numerous creative works generated by domestic cultural artists and scholars in the program have made the Toji Cultural Centre a majorplace for creative activities in Korea. Based on the success of the domestic program, Toji Cultural Foundation in cooperation with the city of Wonju launched a new initiative in 2005, the Program for Supporting Creative Works and Cultural Exchanges by Foreign Writers, Artists and Scholars.

AIMS OF THE PROGRAM
The new program aims to invite writers, artists and scholars from around the world to work at the Toji Cultural Centre, and promote cultural exchanges and interaction between people of all cultural backgrounds. Through such exchanges, we hope to help foreign writers, artists and scholars deepen their understanding of Korean culture, and help Korean writers, and artists and scholars widen their global perspectives and experience.

OBJECTIVES
1. Encourage various creative works by foreign writers, artists and scholars.
2. Promote interaction between Korean and foreign writers, artists and scholars.
3. Promote Korean cultural arts and related fields through the establishment and strengthening of a network of personal relationships and cultural exchanges that will introduce Korea and Wonju city to the rest of the world.

HOPES & EXPECTATIONS
We hope that the residency programme will stimulate and replenish the creativity of writers, artists and scholars when they get to spend time to create their works, share their views and interact with each other. We also hope that in the process of their exchanges and interactions, Korea¡¯s cultural policy and status will be promoted.

PROGRAMME
1. Toji Foundation will invite 2-3 foreign writers, artists and scholars each year
2. Other Korean arts organizations will also invite 5-6 foreign writers, artists and scholars who are recommended by the consulate or cultural centre from their country
3. Writers, artists and scholars of Korean origin (3-5 per year) will also be invited to participate in the residency programme

Details of Programme
1. Period of program will run for 9 months every year (from 1 April ~ 30 December)
2. Period for recommendation and selection: January-February
3. Maximum period of residency: 3months

Facilitiesof the Residency Programme
1. Accommodation and meals (meals are provided from Monday to Saturday lunch; kitchen is closed on Sunday and public holidays)
2. Access to Internet
3. Access to library and loan of books, research materials from Yonsei University Wonju campus (Honorary membership will be issued.)

Documents Required
¡¤ VISA for writers, artists and scholars (D-1)is issued to
1. Person who engages in non-profit research or artistic activities
2. Person who works on research publications, creative activities, non-profit academic activities, or person who is invited by artistic organization to engage in scholastic or artistic activities.
3. Person who conducts professional study on the traditional Korean history and culture, or intends to be trained by an expert in the field.
¡¤ Application note(Form)
¡¤ a copy of your passport or Copy of Certificate of Registry (China)
¡¤ 1 Passport style picture (size: 3.5 * 4.5 cm )
¡¤ resume or curricular vitae and a record of your publications and writing  

Foreign Writers, Artists & Scholars¡¯ Acknowledgements
To help the Toji Cultural Foundation in the evaluation and management of the programme, foreign writers, artists and scholars are required to: At the end of their residency, give Toji Centre either a written report of their work or a copy of their creative project or writing done during their residency. (These reports and copies of work are for record keeping and archival purposes only, and will not be published.)Acknowledge the sponsorship from Wonju city.

Translator Jong-souk Yeo (Professor,School of Integrated Technology at Yonsei University)
Translation modify Suchen Christine lim(Novelist, Singapore)

 
 
 

The Purpose of The Pak Kyong Ni Prize
The Pak Kyong Ni Prize was established by the Toji Cultural Foundation to commemorate and further develop the great spirit of letters which the late author Pak Kyong Ni showed in writing her saga Toji (The Land). In the great panorama of this work she vividly portrayed the desperate struggles of the Korean people in the turmoil of their recent history, as they sought to achieve liberation from Japanese imperialism, freedom and democracy, at a time when they were suffering from class-divisions and exploitation in a poverty-stricken land under Japanese occupation.
The prize is to be awarded each year to one novelist who has made a distinguished contribution toward the development of a pure spirit of letters similar to that which Pak Kyong Ni exhibited, rejecting the allure of worldly gain. In this way, it is hoped that the writings of Pak Kyong Ni, which were nourished by her native soil, will be enriched in such a way as to sustain the original value of literature itself. The prize is also designed to be a "prestigious world prize for literature," in order to propagate widely the spirit of letters alive in Korea following Pak Kyong Ni's literary achievements.

The Prize
Prize money and a certificate, will be awarded to one novelist whose work is found to represent a great literary achievement, deserving to be remembered in the history of world literature.

The Criteria for candidates for The Pak Kyong Ni Prize :
1. Novelists whose cumulative work is an outstanding literary achievement.
2. Novelists whose works are highly regarded across the world and who have exercised a great influence on world literature.
3. Novelists who are currently alive and active in creative work.
4. The Principles for nomination :
    A. To reflect the purposes of The Pak Kyong Ni prize.
    B. The prize is be awarded to only one novelist each year.

The administration of The Pak Kyong Ni Prize has been under the jurisdiction of The Pak Kyong Ni Prize Committee since 2011. Screening Committee members are selected from among leading members of the Korean and international literary community, both writers and literary critics.

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