Hanyang's Shakespeare from the Spring Literacy Contest
Kim Ji-woo (Department of English Language and Literature, 4th year) wins the 2020 Shinchunmunye play category
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In the past, publishing was extremely difficult for a new author. To support them, Korea’s major newspapers held the spring literacy contest (신춘문예, Shinchunmunye) on the first of January each year since 1925, giving new writers a chance to publish their prize-winning entries and make their debut as a writer. Although private publication has become easier nowadays via SNS, the spring literacy contest still holds its status as the time-honored, formal gateway into literacy. This year, three Hanyangians, Shin Hye-yeong, Lim Ji-hoon, and Kim Ji-woo, earned the glory of winning the 2020 contest. Among them, Kim Ji-woo (Department of English Language and Literature, 4th year) won in the play category with Path at the early age of 24.
Path is a short play in which two child characters, Mino and Ir go on a journey tied on a freight train from Mexico to America in search for a better life. Kim gained inspiration from a documentary she had seen eight years ago. The play was “raw,” described the judges, “as if the author was the actor herself moving on the stage,” and “has high literary potential,” even compared to ‘The Little Prince’ by Saint-Exupéry.
Winning was unexpected for Kim as Path was her first-ever play work. “I’ve loved writing since I was a child but only recently decided to pursue the career as a writer. Even then, my goal was to become a musical writer. So Path was the first play that I wrote,” said Kim. However, Kim said she always liked watching plays and feeling their vivid atmosphere. “I watch two to six plays a month. Sometimes they would sell the script, so I would buy them and study.”
As the most memorable scene, the author picked the scene where the two children imagine a coyote which they have never seen. "The hypothesis behind the story is that imagination is the driving force of life. This particular scene delivered it very well," said Kim. "I also wanted to write the story somewhat vaguely. It was hard, but people who read the play gave me their different interpretations, which were fun and interesting."
Path will be performed on stage around March and April, as part of the one-act play of the spring literacy contest prize-winning entries. Kim spoke of her aspiration as a now-formal writer that she has many ideas and stories that are waiting to become a play in the future. “I’m still quite dazed by the fact that my play won such an honorable contest. I will always aspire to become a better writer,” said Kim.
Lim Ji-woo firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Lee Hyeon-seon
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