Late novelist posthumously receives highest cultural honor

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : Jul 24, 2018 - 17:56
  • Updated : Jul 24, 2018 - 17:56

The government on Tuesday bestowed the late novelist Choi In-hun with the Geumgwan Order of Cultural Merit, the highest class of its kind, for his contribution to Korean literature.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-hwan visited the funeral parlor of the late writer at the Seoul National University Hospital to offer condolences to the bereaved family and present the medal on behalf of the government. 

Do Jong-hwan (left) talks with the bereaved family of novelist Choi In-hun at a funeral parlor in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

It marks the second governmental medal presented to Choi, following the third-class Bogwan Order of Cultural Merit in 1999.

The author of “The Square” died Monday at the age of 82 from colorectal cancer, four months after his diagnosis.

Choi is best-known for his 1960 novel “The Square,” which tells of the dilemma Koreans faced in light of the ideological and territorial divide of the country.

The work was considered the first novel to directly discuss the ideological standoff between the Koreas, with neither side depicted as an ideal place. It presented a new perspective on the post-Korean War division, whose relevance transcends the peninsula in that such ideological conflict was the driving force of the Cold War.

His other notable works include “A Grey Man” (1963), “Journey to the West” (1966), “The Sound of Laughter” (1967) and “The Keyword” (1994).

From 1977 to 2001, Choi taught creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.

By Yoon Min-sik