2007 Sejong English Essay
Writing Competition
Due April 30, 2007
Judges

Heinz Insu Fenkl

Heinz Insu Fenkl

Heinz Insu Fenkl is an author, editor, translator, folklorist, and the director of the Interstitial Studies Institute at the State University of New York, New Paltz. His fiction includes Memories of My Ghost Brother, an autobiographical, novel about growing up in Korea as a bi-racial child in the '60s. He was named a Barnes and Noble "Great New Writer" and Pen/Hemingway finalist in 1997. He has also published short fiction in a variety of journals and magazines, as well as numerous articles on folklore and myth.

He lectures regularly for The Korea Society on a variety of topics including Korean animation, comics, literature, and folktales.

Fenkl was raised in Korea and (in his later years) Germany and the United States. Graduating from Vassar, he studied folklore and shamanism as a Fulbright Scholar in Korea and dream research under a grant from the University of California. Before his appointment to his current position at New Paltz, he taught a range of courses at Vassar, Bard, Sarah Lawrence, and Yonsei University (Korea), including Asian/American Folk Traditions, East Asian Folklore Korean Literature, Asian American Literature, and Native American Literature, in addition to Creative Writing.

He has published translations of Korean fiction and folklore, and is co-editor of Kori: The Beacon Anthology of Korean American Literature. He also writes regular columns on mythic topics for Realms of Fantasy magazine.

Heinz lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife, writer and artist Anne B. Dalton, and their daughter Isabella Myong-wol.

Ty Pak

Ty Pak

Born in Korea in 1938, Ty Pak lived through his country’s liberation from Japan in 1945, its division under US and Soviet occupation, and the trauma of the Korean War, 1950-53, during which his father died. After getting his law degree at Seoul National University in 1961, he worked as a reporter for the English dailies, Korean Republic and Korea Times, until 1965 when he came to the US and got his Ph.D. in English at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, 1969. After a year’s post-doctoral work at UC Berkeley, he taught in the English Department, University of Hawaii, from 1970 to 1987, when he took early retirement to devote himself to writing.

Guilt Payment (1983), a collection of his 13 stories, critically acclaimed and widely adopted as a textbook at many US college campuses, is sold at such national chains as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. His latest books, Cry Korea Cry, a novel, and Moonbay, a collection of 7 short stories previously published in various journals, have enjoyed rave reviews. His fiction explores the aspirations, idealism, and angst of Korean Americans, as they strive to carve out a destiny for themselves and their children in the American mainstream.

As one of his scholarly admirers has remarked, Ty Pak’s “prime merit ... is the unflinching confrontation with the voids and wounds, both psychic and physical, that drive and inhibit a generation of Koreans born to division, war and a homeland that is not whole either.”

His scholarly work in over 40 articles and monographs has appeared in Language, Lingua, Semiotica, Journal of Formal Logic, and other learned journals.

Ty Pak has been invited to speak by various universities, civic groups, and local high schools on Korean American literature. In 1984 he chaired the Korean American Literature Panel at UCLA and in 1989 he was on the Asian American Writers Series at UC Berkeley and Cal State Hayward. He spoke on Korean American literature at the Korean American Student Conferences, Harvard and MIT (1990) and Rutgers (1999). In 1991 he was Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Occidental College. In 1999 he spoke at UCLA, University of Hawaii, George Washington University, and University of Maryland, and in 2001 he gave a seminar on his fiction at the joint invitation of the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and the Korea Institute, Harvard University. In March 2002 he spoke on Asian American Literature at the Writing Department and Asian Students Association, Wellesley College, and on Korean Literature in January 2003 at MIT.

Married and with three children, Ty Pak now lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Jin Young Kim

Jin Young Kim

Jinyoung Kim does a lot of reading and editing for general arts-related issues for The Korea Society (not just visual art curating); she also writes much of their catalogue copy.

She is a senior program officer in the Arts at The Korea Society. She does a lot of reading and editing for general arts-related issues for The Korea Society (not just visual art curating); she also writes much of their catalogue copy.

Since 2003, she has been curating and organizing exhibitions and performing arts programs to further encourage understanding of Korea and Korean culture in the US. Focusing on a goal to reach audiences outside the major metropolitan areas, where opportunities to see beyond the headlines can be very limited, Kim has introduced diverse traveling exhibitions to cover Korean history, culture, religion and contemporary issues. Some of the exhibitions include Korean comics, movie posters from 1950s, photographs from the Korean War, traditional Korean paintings, shamanism paintings, and contemporary art exhibitions.

Prior to joining The Korea Society, Kim worked at several art galleries and institutions, including the Kim Foster Gallery in Chelsea, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Japan Society, Sotheby's Auction House and Galerie Bahk in Seoul. In addition, she wrote for several Korean art magazines and a Korean daily newspaper, Chosun Ilbo from 1999 to 2004.

Kim holds an M.A. in art history from Columbia University, an M.A. in art administration from the Fashion Institute of Technology, and a B.A. in art history from Hong-Ik University.

She is a mother to be and a wife to a very loving husband. They currently reside in Manhattan.

"Experiences stem from openness to see and feel - from curious and willing minds.  I felt that all of the participating writers showed beautiful open hearts and intellectual maturity to capture the world we all live in.   Through diverse individual experiences, they gave unity to Korean identity.  I could not help but wonder what will 'being Korean' would mean in 10 or 20 years from now. 

It was truly an honor and pleasure to have a chance to glimpse into their experiences and to dwell upon what has been and will be mine.  I hope these essays will serve as stepping stones for the writers and guiding lanterns for others who ponder upon the same issues – to remind that we share more than we can imagine.  Thank you and keep writing! " ~ Jinyoung Kim


Updated June 5, 2007
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2007  2nd Annual Sejong English Essay Writing Competition


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