Kim Byeong-shim won the poetry prize, no winners for fiction and non-fiction

The winner of the 7thJeju4·3PeaceLiteraryPrizewasannounced.

The Jeju 4·3 Peace Literary Prize Committee, chaired by writer Hyun Ki Young, held two final judging meetings on March 16 and 29, and selected “What happened when clear-eyed” by Kim Byeong-shim as the winner of the poetry section. However, they reluctantly decided to announce no winners for the fiction and non-fiction sections.

From last August to January, the Jeju 4·3 Peace Foundation, chaired by Yang Jo Hoon, held an open public submission for poetry, fiction and non-fiction, with the theme of “The Truth of Jeju 4·3, Peace and Human Rights, Reconciliation, and Coexistence.” As a result, 335 writers from Korea and abroad participated, totaling 2,166 entries accepted (2,031 poems from 200 poets, 119 pieces of fiction from 119 fiction writers, 16 pieces of non-fiction from 16 non-fiction writers).

The committee prepared the manual for the juries tailored to the 7th event and screened the applicants throughout the preliminary and final rounds for two months from February this year.

The jurors for each section revealed the criteria for the winners, saying that they placed the greatest importance on the works that could sublimate the painful memories of Jeju 4·3 into literature and help realize the values of peace and human rights/reconciliation and coexistence.”

The jurors for the poetry section highly appreciated the winning poem, with the assessment that “the poem comfortably depicted the lyrical emotions in the Jeju language, while beautifully expressing the spatial and temporal history of the people’s lives.” The jurors also stated, “The poet successfully adhered to the theme and put perfection in her work by overcoming the risk of leaving flaws.”

Poet Kim explained the motif of her creative work, saying, “I tried to express my regret over the peaceful villages that were lost during Jeju 4‧3 with few traces left amid the ongoing development projects.”

Born in Jeju in 1973, Kim completed her master’s in Korean Language and Literature at Jeju National University. She started her career after winning the Rookie of the Year Award at the 1997 Free Literature Contest for her poem titled “Dreaming of Balhae.”

Unfortunately, the sections for fiction and non-fiction failed to announce winners this year.

According to the jurors for the fiction section, four works succeeded to the final round. “They lacked the well-established narrative structures, though, which is the most important element in fiction,” they said in a statement. The jurors also expressed regret for not selecting a winner, explaining that “the unnatural stories and carelessly diversified views eventually weakened the narrative cohesion of the works.”

The non-fiction section was added to the prize for the first time this year. The jurors said: “We focused on the purpose of the audition, the theme of this year, the author’s historic insight, and the reality, present sense, and reliability of the content. However, most of the works failed to accord with the purpose of the audition because they were merely the combinations of the 4‧3 report and state-issued biased materials. We reviewed a few of the others several times, but they were also unfocused in terms of structure. We could not select a winner after all.”

The Jeju 4‧3 Peace Literary Prize was established in March 2012 by Jeju Special Self-Governing Province. Since 2015, the Jeju 4‧3 Peace Foundation has organized the audition and the selection. The total prize money is worth 90 million won (50 million won for the fiction section, 20 million won for the poetry section, and 20 million won for the non-fiction section).