Ko Un, candidate for Nobel literature prize, gets famous in Mideast

“I wanted to become a poet, and I became a poet.
I clung to my name as a poet because I committed so many sins by wasting time.
Being a poet is a punishment of life imprisonment rather than a choice I made”.

This is part of what Ko Un has to say about himself, it wouldn’t do him justice to introduce him as a poet only. He’s not only widely known as a poet, he also wrote travel books, translations, fiction, drama, autobiography, children books, studies …etc.

Above all, he’s considered a strong candidate for winning Nobel Prize for literature, that people and Journalists are getting ready to cover the news live –from the front of his house- when he wins.

And lately he’s also being introduced more to the Middle East, since he’s not appropriately known there. Ashraf Abo Al-Yazid cooperating with the “Dubai Culture” magazine translated one of most notable works “One Thousand Lives” and sold thousands of copies, doing more publicity to the poet.

Ko Un had an incredibly tragic and interesting life; he was still in middle school when war broke out, and it affected him bad. He lost many loved ones, attempted suicide more than once and lived as a Buddhist monk for a while. He came back after a decade transforming into the dedicated poet he is and setting up a school for charity.

He was also active politically, he tried to improve the political scene in South Korea which got him sent to prison four times, and almost got him sentenced for life.

His life proves that he writes with passion, he writes about nature, homeland and war. Hopefully this time his efforts would be recognized and he would get the novel prize, he deserves.


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