Join us for a special evening with

Seo Su-Jin
Korean Teachers

Saturday, 22 June 2024
19:00 - 20:00
at The Munich Readery
Moderated by Lisa Yarger

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Join us when Seo Su-jin reads from her award-winning debut novel, Korean Teachers.

Winner of the Hankyoreh Literature Award, Seo Su-jin’s novel follows four Korean language lecturers at Seoul’s prestigious H University over the course of an academic year.

Readers spend one season with each of the four protagonists — Seon-yi in the spring, Mi-ju in the summer, Ga-eun in the autumn, and Han-hee in the winter — getting a close look into the challenges and joys of sharing a new language and culture with students from abroad.

As readers delve into the story of each woman and the unique path she has chosen to become a Korean lecturer, they watch Seon-yi, Mi-ju, Ga-eun, and Han-hee deal with a myriad of social and ethical challenges that accompany their jobs and their personal lives. What happens to those who fight against the grain? Each of these women must ultimately find her place as a conduit between her students and an increasingly multicultural Korean society.

Praised as a novel that questions why highly educated women are still facing the formidable hurdle of ‘becoming somebody’ in Korean society, Korean Teachers skillfully peeks into the lives of contemporary women and how they challenge sexism.

The English translation of Korean Teachers was one of the most celebrated Korean translations of 2022.

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Born and raised in Seoul, Seo Su-jin has also published the novels Yujin and Dave and Oleander. Her short story collection, Gold Rush, won the 13th Munhakdongne Young Writer’s Award. She lives and teaches in Sydney, Australia and is currently a guest of the City of Munich’s artist-in-residence program.

"In a dispassionate, almost surgical, tone, [Korean Teachers] lays bare how the language school operates by mobilizing highly educated women and subjecting them to a toxic work environment as well as unfair contract terms. The instructors are stuck in a cycle where they are hired for a short period as hourly lecturers, evaluated, ranked, and replaced similar to commodities. In this deeply flawed system, each teacher is relegated to a simple cog in the machine and often pressured into silence when faced with social and ethical challenges, including sexism and racial prejudice."
The Korea Times

"Korean Teachers by Seo Su-jin casts a spotlight on everyday struggles in South Korea through the setting of a language school. While the Hallyu craze triggered a boom in interest in the Korean language, Seo deromanticises the country, casting educational institutions as cut-throat capitalist money-making machines in a microcosm of the society at large."
The Straits Times

Moderator Lisa Yarger is co-owner of the Munich Readery and the author of
Lovie: The Story of a Southern Midwife and an Unlikely Friendship
(University of North Carolina Press).

This event is free. No registration necessary.

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