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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
After a late lunch, Nam Kyung made his way back to his office through an empty street. The faint voices of a family seemingly visiting the publishing district came from the distance. They were incomparably happier than the editor on his way to work. Then, remembering the upcoming visit to the print shop, Nam Kyung made haste.
“We made quite a scene around this time last year,” Mr. Maeng said, and anxious memories of waiting desperately for the results came rushing back to Nam Kyung. He had never been as concerned about blackouts than on that day.
“We sure did. Well, he already won once, so I guess that’s it.”
It was a policy that gave other authors the opportunity to win the award in the future. With Yun Woo having already earned the title of being the youngest winner, the publishing company had nothing to lose. ‘Sound of Wailing’ was still one of the major bestsellers of the Zelkova Publishing Company.
“Do you think Mr. Woo will get an award this year?” Mr. Maeng asked.
The young author had been chosen as a candidate for the Rational Literary Award of that year. Then, having the strangest feeling that he had joined the family in the distance, Nam Kyung slowed down.
The competition for that year’s award was turning out to be quite interesting. Every short story in ‘The Beginning and the End’ had become a candidate, which meant one of the nine would turn up at the top as the official best, putting an end to the debate among the readers.
“San Jung Youn is unbeatable.”
“Don’t forget Joon Soo Bong.”
In what would have been an endless, ongoing fight, the authors would finally receive a rank. The award was going to determine the payoff of the readers’ support of their favorite authors, and of course, it only made sense that readers would take interest in the matter, each wanting their favorite author and story to win.
“You want Yun Woo to win, don’t you?”
“You sound so certain.”
“Am I wrong?”
“You’re right,” Nam Kyung said after trying to play coy. At the end of the day, he was Yun Woo’s editor. There was no equality in emotions, and it was only natural that one would lean toward a book that they could relate to, written by someone they knew even remotely, and what kept that from being shameful was certainly at the author’s discretion. ‘River’ was an incredible achievement, even from an objective point of view. It was incredible to the point of making the editor concerned for the well-being of the author. It was a short story that Nam Kyung had read more than forty times, and as his editor, he thought Yun Woo’s first official short story as a professional writer was quite lovely. He was proud of the author he had been working with. Then, being careful not to get carried away by his emotions, Nam Kyung asked Mr. Maeng, “Well, what about you?”
“Me too. My vote goes to Won Yi Young.”
“You mean Yun Woo. You work for Zelkova, remember?”
Ever since the news got out and Won Yi Young turned out to the Yun Woo all along, Mr. Maeng hadn’t been afraid to express his affection for the author. Being a fantasy novel buff, he listed ‘Language of God’ and ‘River’ as proof of Yun Woo’s potential as an author.
“Well, there are still other authors who are just as competent, so we can’t be so sure just yet. Besides, one of them is San Jung Youn.”
“The readers were especially polarizing this time around. Personally, I really think Joon Soo Bong has a lot of potential this year. He’s been on the rise lately, too.”
“He is a good writer,” Nam Kyung admitted. However, it didn’t mean that others lacked potential by any means. Every single piece was just as threatening to each other as the last, and the fact that they all had been appointed as candidates meant that they all had the potential to be winners. Now, it was all up to the judges, who consisted of a critic, a reader, a professor, and a journalist. The winner of the award would be based on their decision. Everyone working in the publishing company was constantly discussing who the winner might be, and there was even a rumor circulating that bets were being placed at the business department.
Walking into the company building, Nam Kyung went to the lounge and bought himself a cup of coffee from the vending machine.
“Be safe now.”
Unlike Mr. Maeng, who was sitting down, Nam Kyung prepared to leave. Since he planned on going straight home from the print shop, he packed Yun Woo’s new manuscript with him. Although he wanted to stay true to his instincts and read it, he had decided to wait until he was on his way home in order to avoid the risk of forgetting about his visit to the shop altogether. His heart raced with anticipation. Then, right as he was about to leave, the phone began to ring.
“Hello, Zelkova Publishing Company.”
“Is this Nam Kyung Park?”
Nam Kyung didn’t recognize the voice coming from the receiver.
“Yes, this is he.”
Then, the person on the other end of the line introduced themselves briefly.
“Mr. Woo has been chosen as the best translator of the year.”
Because his head had been occupied with thoughts of ‘The Beginning and the End,’ the information registered in Nam Kyung’s mind with a slight delay.
The editor found himself hopelessly lost.
Yun Woo’s Incredible Accomplishments by Myung Sil Oh.
There are many things to look forward to in the winter. From the first snow to the steaming street food, parties, and food of all sorts. For students, there’s a long winter break to look forward to, and for adults, we look forward to finally opening that bottle of wine we’ve been saving, or the simple pleasure of enjoying soju and beer from the nearby convenience store. Also, there are probably quite a few people who are hoping that Santa works extra hard this winter. I, myself, was one of them until I got to third grade (As for the children asking why I stopped believing in Santa in third grade, I choose not to answer that question.). In any case, when winter comes, the cold isn’t the only thing that comes blowing our way.
As we near the end of the year, we can’t forget about the award ceremonies. From entertainment awards for the greatest actor/actresses to music awards, watching the ceremonies across all three TV stations has long been a habit of mine. However, as a journalist who specializes in books approved by the Ministry of Culture, the one type of award ceremony I look forward to the most is the literary award ceremony. There exist countless literary awards in Korea, and of course, some have questionable titles that would leave the heads of those who hear about them twisted. In our heartless, modern society, things that stay true to their original intentions are becoming increasingly rare. However, not all hope is lost just yet. Just like there are things that bring us nothing but disappointment and hopelessness, there are also things that restore our hope in humanity (just like a hot cup of soup and the cold winter often go hand in hand.).
As early as yesterday, the winners of the Rational Literary Awards were announced. One winner of the grand prize, one winner of specialty award, and eleven winners of awards of excellence. The evaluation is said to have been, by far, the most difficult up to date. And now, the results of the most laborious evaluation in history…
The winner of the grand prize of the Rational Literary Award: Yun Woo
The winner of the specialty award: Seo Joong Ahn (I will list the names of the remaining eleven at the bottom, as this article is primarily about Yun Woo and the literary magazine ‘The Beginning and the End.’ Also, for the reason I have mentioned above, let us briefly touch on Seo Joong Ahn’s story.)
Seo Joong Ahn’s victory caught many by surprise because it meant that he had managed to beat San Jung Youn. Although Seo Joong Ahn’s brilliance and subtlety is well known among readers in Korea, San Jung Youn is an author who has been recognized internationally. Everyone knows that she was the first Korea winner of an international award in Italy. To the readers with opposing opinions, the judges offered an explanation, saying that they placed high value on her method of approaching the subject of death by utilizing a literary device (This is what makes literature so interesting. Even Ernest Hemingway of “The Old Man and the Sea,” who we all know and love, has a record of making a bad move in his career, becoming the target of all sorts of harsh criticisms from the masses.).
Having written mostly about growth, Seo Joong Ahn had undergone a slight change through his previous novel, “One Room,” and that change turned out to be a massive success. On that note… Let us move on to Yun Woo, the winner of the grand prize. Just like last year, at the mere age of eighteen years old, the young author managed to earn the title of being the youngest winner. For those who are reading this article, I’ll assume that you’ve read “River,” yourselves. Otherwise, I wholeheartedly recommend you do so. Read it, and you’ll understand why I, a journalist who specializes in books approved by the Ministry of Culture, was in such shock when I first read it. (That’s right. Yun Woo’s short story was an event in and of itself.)
Is this truly death portrayed by an eighteen-year-old teenager? My heart is filled with doubt on one hand, while moved deeply on the other. Lately, there are all kinds of theories surrounding the identity of the author, and it only serves as further validation that the young author did something right. Now, staying true to the title of this article, I will discuss Yun Woo’s accomplishments as an author. Aside from his debut title being made into a movie that reached well over ten million viewers, he also finished ‘Language of God,’ as well as translated Kelley Coin’s book. Coin himself had requested the young author in person, and as a result, Yun Woo was chosen as “The Best Translator of the Year.”
“The Best Translator of the Year” is chosen based on poll results from publishers and the recognition of professional translators. Now, I’d like to emphasize once again that this is what Yun Woo has accomplished at the age of eighteen. Yun Woo is… (I probably sound like a fangirl by now, so I’ll try to refrain myself from any further compliments toward the author.)
In conclusion, Yun Woo’s accomplishments are, simply put, stellar. It’s as if I’m witnessing the prime of the author’s life. At the same time, that also brings me a sense of anxiety, leaving me insecure about him having his career cut short. I’m sure we all, as readers and fans, want our favorite author to be around longer, while we anticipate his books in the future. Therefore, I’d like to urge my fellow fans to be mindful of burdening the young author, whom I firmly believe has a bright future ahead of him.
“The article might be full of compliments toward Yun Woo, but none of them are wrong. The youngest winner of the Dong Kyung AND the Rational Literary Award. The youngest author of the book made into a ten-million viewers movie. The youngest to translate a Kelley Coin novel.”
“His sense of language in ‘Language of God’ is out of this world, and I think it contributes majorly to his career. I got the chills reading the offshoot volume.”
“‘Language of God’ is super popular overseas. Have a friend who lives in California, and he’s a massive fan of Yun Woo. I mean, he started studying Korean because of that!”
“That series is at number ten in the overall sales rankings of foreign online bookstores, and I’m talking about OVERALL rankings. Not only in the fantasy genre, but overall. Among those books that are written in English, ‘Language of God’ is the tenth most-sold novel of all time. I believe it’s the first Korean novel to enter into a top ten list in any overseas market.”
“Yun Woo’s already famous all across the globe. It’s almost scary how popular he is in countries like China, Japan, and India. From what I saw on the TV, they’ve been describing him as this mysterious, genius author.”
“Where can I see that??”
“On top of all that, ‘The Best Translator of the Year.'”
“I figure that whoever ends up translating Yun Woo’s books will be dumbfounded, wondering why the author doesn’t do it himself.”
“I mean, you can’t scratch your own back, right?”
“Authors go through a ridiculous amount of reading when they write, so translating might not be the most appealing to him after writing an entire book.”
“There are other authors who translate on top of their own writing besides Yun Woo. Also, plenty of authors don’t translate their own works.”
“Yun Woo’s translator knows what he’s doing. Considering it’s being published by Fernand, I guess the quality only makes sense. On top of that, the senior editor is famous for being a fan of Yun Woo.”
“It’s sad to see Seo Joong Ahn getting buried amongst all these authors when he’s just as incredible of an author. His stories always have some sort of unimaginable twist, and even his best friend, Dong Gil Uhm, recognizes his talent.”
“I loved his recent short story. IMO, he deserved the award over San Jung Youn.”
“I think the judges placed a higher value on Seo Joong Ahn’s piece because he’s maturing as an author. He was already famous, but he just keeps getting better!”
“I couldn’t have guessed in my dreams that San Jung Youn wouldn’t win.”
“Honestly, her piece was somewhat controversial for the judges this year. I think that had something to do with it.
“What wrong did the judges do, anyway? If I were one of them, there’s no way I could have picked only one. I’m serious, they get all the crap, no matter what.”
“‘The Beginning and the End’ is marking a new era in the history of literary magazines.
“And Yun Woo wins the grand prize.”
“‘River’ is essentially about my life.”
“I’d never read the same book over and over again, but I’m still not tired of it.”
“I agree. I’ve read it so many times that I memorized all of the dialogue. Seriously, those are some hard-hitting conversations, though.”
“I wonder when the next book is coming out? I mean, Yun Woo’s human too, so I presume that it would take him some time.”
“I logged into the publishing company’s website to ask, but the website was down. Typical Zelkova.”
“Oh, wow. It really is.”
“To Yun Woo, for winning the grand prize!”
Juho chuckled as he shouted cheers with glasses filled with soda. First, he was proud of his underage friends for raising their glasses with colorful soft drinks instead of alcohol, and second, there was joy in their voices. They were not only celebrating, but there was even greater joy in that they finally got to call out the name “Yun Woo” without reservation. Then, when Sun Hwa saw the look on Juho’s face, she complained, “Why the long face? Aren’t you happy?”
“Me? Long face? You have no idea how happy I am.”
“But where’s the soul? We even made a toast.”
As Juho looked away from her quietly, he saw Seo Kwang, wearing a proud expression on his face for some reason. Chugging his Coke, he let out a long, satisfied sigh and wiped his mouth.
“Don’t forget that I’m the only person here who can provide you a place to celebrate, especially Yun Woo being awarded the grand prize. You’re welcome,” he said, emphasizing Yun Woo. Then, Juho looked around at his surroundings, which were filled with books and hand-written recommendations and smelled of coffee. It was no other place than Seo Kwang’s mother’s book cafe.
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