Best thing ever that’s happened in my career. The Canadian Embassy in Korea invited Kathy Stinson and me to be celebrated and showcased in the Canada150 spotlight at the Seoul International Book Fair.
Thirteen hour flight each way, five whirlwind days there. The first began at 7:15 AM for a radio interview.
So much fun to talk to this lively hostess as she engages and sometimes repeats what Kathy and I say in Korean. You can listen in here https://youtu.be/RqT99HkPegE.
Next we met with the ambassador Walsh at the Canadian embassy. He talked about some of the other endeavours the embassy has made to showcase Canadian talent. After that I visited the Seoul International Book Fair. Back to back appointments with agents and publishers were lively as I spoke about my books and then was translated. Everyone enjoyed the concepts and premises–judging by their responses I sold foreign rights to about five books. This proved way easier than chatting up parents and kids and making a sale say at a Chapters signing. But I’m told initial response always seems that positive. We’ll really have to wait and see.
Then I gave a “Meet the Canadian Author” talk and a writing workshop. This was my first experience being translated by Minksook Kim and I stopped in awe to watch and listen. If I ever get back to Korea I hope to have mastered much more of this musical language.
Next day Kathy and I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Jae-jeong Lee, the education minister who is very keen on the Ontario education system. He arranged for Kathy and me to visit Yomnu Elementary School, Kathy talked with grade three students, I presented to grade six.
I loved these students, they were so attentive. They also insisted on giving me a tour of the campus, practising their English on me.
Next morning I was slated to speak at Seoul Metropolitan Library.
We never know for sure who we are going to be speaking to when we do a public event. At Seoul Metropolitan Library, I spoke with 50 adults and one young person on creativity. I was also supposed to give out 150 writing tips but I perhaps only gave out five. Translating takes some of the time!
Songa English Library wins the prize for perhaps the most enthusiastic preparation and the liveliest presentation. Ever. Students here prepared detailed posters and flies were stuck on all the walls even in the elevator.
After storytelling the book, and giving some of the inspiration, I watched as students created fly origami. I still don’t know how to do this. Finally I threw up some velcro fuzzball flies and the students swung at them with their flyswatters hoping to catch them for prizes. Does it get any better?Thank you Canada for taking me on so many amazing journeys.But of course it’s all the people that make the difference.Thanks to Ambassador Walsh, Jonathon Kupi,Yi Hyon Ju,Hye-Shin Kan, Yoo-Kyung Choy and Minsook Kim. Thanks Kathy Stinson. Wouldn’t have been half as much fun without you.