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School of Law Awards Author Choi In-hun with Honorary Degree

  • October 11, 2016
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Writer CHOI In-hun ’52 Law
Writer CHOI In-hun ’52 Law

SNU School of Law recently decided to award an honorary degree to author CHOI In-hun, a renowned figure in Korean contemporary literature. Choi entered the School of Law in 1952, two years after coming to South Korea from Hamgyong Province, North Korea, during the Korean War. He left the university in 1956, after completing only six semesters, later revealing that at the time, he found it difficult to focus on academic studies due to the societal chaos resulting from the division of Korea.

Now 80, Choi made his literary debut while serving in the military for six years as an English interpreter officer. His most famous work, The Square, immediately gained a great deal of recognition when it was published in 1960. The Square is the first Korean novel to criticize the ideologies and political systems of both North and South Korea, and arguably marks the beginning of a new era of Korean contemporary literature following post-war literature of the 1950s.

From 1977 until his retirement in 2001, Choi taught as a professor of creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts, but he himself did not have an official university degree. When interviewed by a team of SNU Department of Korean Language and Literature professors and graduate students, led by Professor BANG Min Ho, Choi lamented that he could not live up to his parents’ expectations because he did not finish university. Upon hearing this, Professor Bang proposed that SNU issue an honorary degree in recognition of Choi’s profound contribution to Korean literature. SNU President SUNG Nak-In, who is 17 years junior to Choi in the School of Law, welcomed the proposal which celebrates the spirit of SNU Humanities.

In addition to awarding Choi with the honorary degree, SNU plans to hold a literary event to celebrate Choi’s accomplishments. SNU is currently coordinating details of the degree conferment ceremony with the writer.

Written by YOON Jiwon, SNU English Editor,
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations,

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