K O U N with P A T R I C I A D O N E G A N Ko Un is widely acknowledged as Korea's foremost and most prolific contem porary writer and journalist. Born in 1933 in Kunsan, North Cholla Province, he mastered the Chinese classics as a child and began writing poetry at age twelve. With the advent of the Korean War in 1950, he witnessed the atrocities of the conflict at first hand. In 1952 he became a Buddhist monk of the Son (Zen) sect, and he later rose to the position of abbot. Returning to secular life, he worked as a human-rights activist in Korea's democratization movement in the 1970s and 1980s. Though jailed and tortured by the government, he continued to speak out against it. After the fall of the dictatorship of Park Chung-hee and the adoption of a new democratic constitution in 1987, Ko Un was at last allowed to travel abroad. His work began to appear in translation, and he now has an international literary reputation. He was awarded the Korean Literature Prize in 1974 and 1987, the Manhae Literary Prize in 1989, the Chuang Cultural Prize in 1991,
Manoa – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Aug 3, 2006
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