The Writing University conducts is a series of interviews with writers while they are in Iowa City participating in the International Writing Program's fall residency. We sit down with authors to ask about their work, their process and their descriptions of home.
Today we are talking with Doyoon Kim 김도윤, a fiction writer, librettist, translator and critic from South Korea.
1. Do you have a plan or project in mind for your time at the residency?
I planned to research for the blueprints of my next projects. Also, I wanted to meet performing artists in Iowa. Thankfully, I had beautiful collaborative performances with Chiara String Quartet and the department of dance.
2. What does your daily practice look like for your writing? Do you have a certain time when you write? Any specific routine?
No routine or no certain time. But I try to spend my time regularly. The writing process is similar - brainstorming first then arrange the ideas based on the notes that I took. If I can be completely being alone, time or place is not important. When I write I almost forget about life. I eat a lot to maintain my physical health.
3. What are you currently reading right now? Are you reading for research or pleasure?
I read the score of 'Norma' again. I write libretti for the contemporary opera which need lots of understanding of music and stage. P. Westerberg told, 'reading music is like listening to flowers'. But I am a librettist and critic. Understanding music and the composers' thoughts are essential to make a good music drama. And for the second question, I want to read for pleasure but sometimes I have to read for the research. For instance, I researched many sources about the comfort women during the second world war that will appear in one of my next projects.
4. What is something the readers and writers of Iowa City should know about you and your work?
I write many stories throughout many genres. But especially, I am working on scripts for the music dramas current years - such as opera, musical, and even dance. I have a deep interest in the themes related to wars, crimes, and legends. After I complete this program, I will focus on my next project. It will be a novella or a novel.
5. Tell us a bit about where you are from -- what are some favorite details you would like to share about your home?
I am from Seoul and have lived in capital city area in Korea. Recently, I live in a city of culture Bucheon, which is named as Asia's first 'UNESCO City of Literature' in 2017. Bucheon has cultural events like 'Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival', 'Bucheon Literature Awards' and has good infra for the young artists such as comics museum, good libraries, theaters, multi plex movie theaters, or schools. It is located between Seoul and Incheon, the historically important harbor city. My working area is usually Seoul and Daegu which have International Opera Festivals and good opera theaters and will be widened to Busan which plans to build new opera theater by 2020.
Thank you Doyoon Kim!