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Novelist Choi In-hun passes away from cancer

Posted July. 24, 2018 07:32,   

Updated July. 24, 2018 07:32


Novelist Choi In-hun, known for his novel “The Square,” a landmark work that represents the country’s contemporary literature of the 20th century, died of a chronic disease on Monday. He was 82.

Born in 1936 in Hoeryong, North Hamgyong Province in North Korea, Choi spent his childhood under the Japanese colonial rule and crossed into the South after the Korean War broke out in 1950. He later studied law at Seoul National University, but joined the army in 1959 after finishing only six semesters. While still in military, Choi’s works “A Grey Man” and “The Tale of Raul” were published in a literary magazine “Liberal Literature.”

His best-known novel “The Square” was published in 1960 when he was 24. As one of the first literary works that squarely confronted the reality of national division, the novel was chosen by the literary circle as the “Best Novel of Korea” in 2004. Choi taught literary creation at Seoul Institute of the Arts from 1977 to 2001, having well-known poets and novelists such as Jang Seok-nam, Shin Kyung-sook, and Ham Min-bok as pupils.

Suffering from angina in his later years, Choi was diagnosed with colorectal cancer early this year and had fought the disease until he passed away at a hospital in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province. Not losing fortitude even at the hospital, Choi rather soothed his family and friends and stayed passionate about art, putting a final touch on his unpublished works.

Yeun-Kyung Cho yunique@donga.com