Author Kang Hwa-Gil writes about things we can easily find around us. If there is one thing that differentiates her stories from others, it is that her works are delicate, or rather chilly in the sense that she seems to be living a different life from ordinary people. In her book <Eumbok> (which means to partake of sacrificial food and drink) that features ancestral rites, and in <Gawon> and <Hand> that mainly describe our daily life, she talks about psychological violence, hatred, suppression, and horror that women experience.
Kang Hwa-Gil points out the sense of displacement from people’s attitude of taking things for granted when they shouldn’t.
Hello, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Please say hello to our subscribers.
Hi, I am Kang Hwa-Gil, and I write novels. It’s good to be meeting you.
Is there a reason for you to choose hatred, suppression, horror, and violence that women experience as the source for your books?
I don’t actually choose a topic and write on it. But as I am writing down sentences, the topic I have in mind just flows out naturally. I think anyone would be like me.
<The 11th Young Writer Award Collection (Munhakdongne)> including <Eumbok> (left)
<It’s Because Only Women Disappear (Eunhaengnamu)> including <Sanchaek> (meaning “stroll”)(right)
I got to think that I should never get loose on the senses I feel about daily life and keep on taking on challenges.
Novelist Pyun Hye-Young said, “Kang Hwa-Gil has reached a genre that does not exist anywhere with stories about women that exist everywhere.” How do you think about her comment?
As I have been a huge fan of her works, I was just glad to be hearing such a comment. I think it was the best compliment I could ever get. And I got to think that I should never get loose on the senses I feel about daily life and keep on taking on challenges.
Is there a title of yours that you like the most?
I personally like <White Horse> the most. I could feel liberated very much after writing this novel. It gave me a chance to think about what I need the most and what kind of novel I want to write from now on. In fact, for all those days I put in to write the novel, I was just so excited. As I know that such an experience is not common for a writer, I think I get to grow more fond of it.
Could you please introduce your novel collection <White Horse (Munhakdongne)> to our readers?
Yes. <White Horse> is my second short-story collection and my third title. It is a collection of short novels that I announced from 2018 to spring 2020. I recall having a really hard time back then writing novels. I could not let go of the ratings I get about my works, and I doubted myself if I am writing in the proper direction. And writing <White Horse> just relieved me so much during that period.
I got the inspiration for <White Horse> from a song by Taylor Swift. It is a breakup song. So the song goes like, you are not my “white horse,” and this is not a fairy tale. It was about a relationship, but it came to me in the voice of a novel writer. So basically, ratings, evaluations, and all those “white horses” do not matter, but what matters the most were what I am going to write about, how I will be writing it, and what writer I am going to become in the future.
If <White Horse> is exported overseas, what message would you like to add for the introduction?
Well, I am, in fact, curious. How would the overseas readers take my stories? How are they going to understand it? Are they going to experience something that goes beyond the linguistic boundary just as I did as I read so many foreign kinds of literature? Well, I don’t think what I want is not that important. I would just love to hear what my readers experience.
There are always ideas in mind about what a good story is.
Is there a message you would like to give to your readers through your books?
Well, rather than delivering a message... I always think that I want to write good stories. There are always ideas in mind about what a good story is. I couldn’t get a clear answer for that yet. What would be THAT story that stops people’s time and make them look back to their past? I think I cannot stop writing as I also would like to know the answer.
<A Good Person (Munhakdongne)>, <Other People (Hanibook)>
What is your plan for the future?
Just like I have been doing until now, I might keep on writing stories. I am planning to publish a full-length story next year. It is a three-part story about a family, and I think it would be the first novel of the series. Well, if everything goes as I planned. I will do my best!
Please leave your last comment for our readers.
Thank you for your love and support for Korean literature. I will always take challenges to write more interesting and exciting stories. Thank you.
Organized by Lee Ji-Hyeon