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K-Literature recommendations for Pride Month

by M


Disclosure: This post does not contain any affiliate links, meaning I will not get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links below.



Pride Month in June is dedicated to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community – when millions around the world turn into the colours of the rainbow and the focus is on loving each other and yourself. The most popular celebrations include parades, parties, workshops, talks, film screenings, concerts, charity events, etc.

We would like to give some inspirations through literature: novels and a poetry collection. All titles are easily available and we highly recommend you to pick one to celebrate love this month.


If you have a recommendation or you have read any of the titles and would like to share your impression about them, please, share them in the comment section.



Concerning My Daughter

'Concerning My Daughter’ by Kim Hye-jin, translated by Jamie Chang, is an international bestseller queer novel that guides through a mother's journey from denial, ignorance, rage and hatred to the first, subtle changes of understanding her daughter's relationship with her girlfriend and choices in life. The significance of this novel is not only raising awareness of homophobia in Korean society but also of other 'phobias': gender issues, feminism, aging, employment in universities, funding of care homes, freedom, protests, etc.



Image Credit: The Feminist Bookshop, Pan Macmillan


You can buy the book here.



Love in the Big City

‘Love in the Big City’ by Park Sang Young, translated by Anton Hur, is the debut novel of the author who is acclaimed as the bestselling young star of Korean queer fiction. The novel was longlisted for the 2022 International Booker Prize. The sarcastic, cynical and painfully honest story introduces us to Young’s life who tries to find love and happiness in the buzzing capital, Seoul. He shares his concerns, anxiety and happiness with his best female friend, who, unlike Young, manages to settle down. Just like the previous recommendation, this book also explores the harsh challenges the LGBTQ+ community is subject to face in contemporary Korean society.



Image Credit: The Booker Prize, Tilted Axis


You can buy the book here.



To the Warm Horizon

‘To the Warm Horizon’ by Choi Jin-young, translated by Soje, is a dystopian novel about a post-apocalyptic world in Russia where a group of people try to survive the catastrophe caused by a disease with extremely high mortality rate. In this depressing, hopeless and violence-dominated word, two women desperately try to find love against all odds. Choi leaves us with so many unknown and unexplained details that the novel radiates an overwhelming feeling of anxiety so it is easy to empathise with the characters. This novel also aims to portray themes of the marginalised beyond the love story: queer, mixed-race and disabled.



Image Credit: The Feminist Bookshop, Honford Star


You can buy the book here.



Unexpected Vanilla

‘Unexpected Vanilla’ by Lee Hyemi, translated by Soje, is a poetry collection of the young feminist poet. The collection was shortlisted for the 2021 National Translation Award in Poetry and the 2022 Sarah Maguire Prize for Poetry in Translation. Her poems are described as sensual, surrealist, fluid and wet with the addition of the sensuous and sensitive queer translation. Nature has been used as metaphor and also as the communicating agent to express the senses and the vulnerability of each of us, human beings. Reading and interpreting her poems sometimes feels so easy and simple, and sometimes – or more often – you need to take a moment, step back and think deeply about appreciating the sweetness of intimacy.



Image Credit: The Feminist Bookshop, Tilted Axis


You can buy the book here.



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