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Maumsanchaek

Hopes to be remembered as a publisher with who you can talk through books

 

2020.07.13

 

There is a publisher who looks into the minds of readers and takes a walk together inside them. It is Maumsanchaek, who has been strolling inside readers’ minds for the past 20 years. Maumsanchaek is a publisher that produces books that readers can easily read anywhere they like and discovers the literary works of female writers who have been facing limitations due to the glass ceiling. Let’s take a look into the interview with publisher Maumsanchaek who wishes to respect not only the values of writers but also those of readers, hoping to prosper together.

 

Logo of Maumsanchaek

Logo of Maumsanchaek

 

Could you please introduce us to Maumsanchaek?

 

Maumsanchaek is a publisher specialized in literature, art, and liberal arts books. While pursuing to produce literary books with an eye-catching concept, art books where letters and images make a perfect harmony, and liberal arts books that enlarge the scope of ideas, we aim to make the greater world of books.

 

Please tell us about some of your representative books.

 

“Short Novel Series”

“Short Novel Series”

 

Among the “Short Series Novels” containing fine literary works, we recommend Three Wishes by Park Wan-Seo, I don’t care no matter what by Lee Ki-Ho, and I have been thinking about that for a long time by Kim Geum-Hee. With humble life in the background, they are good representations of triumph and tragedies happening in life while picturing the meaning of daily life.
If you are a prose-lover, then we suggest you read The writings written in my youth filled with delicate sentences of Kim Yeon-Soo, and A dictionary of the words about mind by Kim So-Yeon, which is like a linguistic treasure box of the poet.
For movie maniacs, Hommage of Chan-Wook Park and Montage of Chan-Wook Park would be a perfect choice on top of the interview series. Containing columns, essays, interviews, production diaries, and critiques written by director Park Chan-Wook, you will be able to discover the true world of the “Park Chan-Wook Universe.”

 

<The writings written in my youth>

<A dictionary of the words about mind>

The writings written in my youth, A dictionary of the words about mind

 

<Hommage of Chan-Wook Park>

<Montage of Chan-Wook Park>

Hommage of Chan-Wook Park, Montage of Chan-Wook Park

 

 

 

While communicating with readers, Maumsanchaek aims to create a broader world of books.

 

 

Maumsanchaek is celebrating its 20th anniversary this August. What are the achievements you have been making until today?

 

This year is the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Maumsanchaek. The first achievement we’ve made is that in the new wave of literature after the year 2000, we have steadily worked to interact and breathe together with young readers. For example, the “Short Novel Series” that marked the trend of the millennial generation that consumes content in an image is recognized among readers as a series with a good harmony of literary works and pictures. The series could expand the readership by inviting readers sensitive to images on top of narratives through short novels designed as an art book.
The second achievement is that we’ve opened a new path of essays in the Korean publication market by producing literary works with a clear concept. We wanted to bring once marginalized essays to the center and make them as a bowl for the naked aspects and lively voice of writers by throwing in keen topics such as literary theory and story-writing process. Through such efforts, the value of essays was rediscovered in the Korean publication market, which has led to the continuous production of essays until today.
Third, we wanted to shed light on the power of imagination that liberal arts and poetry written by women have. For example, we tried to highlight the “first” women in each field that broke that “glass ceiling” amidst a tough situation where it is hard to discover literary works by female writers facing obstacles due to gender stereotypes and is difficult for women to carry out social activities. We believe that the works produced by Maumsanchaek have played a great role in mainstreaming female authors to write in their own language.

 

The “Mal Series (Interview Series)” is a popular series of Maumsanchaek. What was the motivation, and what is the reaction from others?

 

The “Mal Series” is an interview collection of masters in humanities, social science, and art including writers, theorists, and movie directors. The reason we are introducing their worlds in the form of an interview (“mal (means verbal language in Korean)” is that words can truly reflect a person’s ideas and philosophy. Also, before readers get to jump into the world of those masters’ art, we thought that it would be good to help them have the first encounter through the interviews containing background knowledge of their theories and creations.
Yet, this series was not published as it is in the overseas market. We chose some of the interview series published by one of the college publication teams in the US, and are currently looking for each one of interview books of those that we think are important enough to be discussed solely and include them to the “Mal Series.” We also mulled over the consistency of the books’ cover; we put the portrait on the front, and added color around the cover to effectively stress the person. When we put the 14 books published until today in a row, they look like a rainbow, too.
Thanks to the power and resonance of “mal (verbal language in Korean),” the series has been steadily loved by readers of liberal arts, and books of female ideologists such as Susan Sontag and Hannah Arendt are undergoing additional prints. In particular, marking the International Women’s Day, we’ve also published Wanseo Park: The Interview and Light Paperback, pocketbook edition of Susan Sontag: The Complete Rolling Stone Interview.

 

“Mal Series (Interview Series)”

Mal Series (Interview Series)”

 

Maumsanchaek has many books written by overseas writers. Was there a particular event that made you translate foreign books?

 

We want to try communicating over cultural boundaries by translating already-published books with high quality. In particular, we’ve been interested in titles in line with the literary value, humanitarian ideology, and the voice of women that we pursue. And once we choose a writer based on all these criteria, we published all the titles they wrote in their country as it is one of our rules to publish the whole set of works. The examples were James Salter, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Yonehara Mari. Their whole sets of work were brought in to Korea, where Korean readers could take a stereoscopic view and see how the writer’s interests changed over time. Also, we’ve been working to promote overseas writers by publishing tabloid newspapers with their names as titles.

 

Is there anything you are working on to interact with overseas readers?

 

It is hard to say that we’ve been having free communication with overseas readers. However, recently, we’ve been working to promote our news to readers all across the world through Social Media. We occasionally received feedbacks from overseas writers about our book covers for the Korean market through Social Media and received suggestions from agencies that they wish to publish our books in their country. Also, we met overseas readers when we participated in the Frankfurt Book Fair or Salon du Livre Paris. We hope to make more opportunities to reach our readers in the future.

 

Is there a unique standard or values that Maumsanchaek has when choosing writers or works?

 

Well, the element that we stress the most is the “texture” of works written by literary, art, and liberal arts authors. The books we prioritize when it comes to publishing are not those that merely provide questions and answers but those with lively breathing questions, answers, and messages of writers, where the three elements resonate with readers today.

 

 

Books that permeate into readers’ minds, and communicating with those books
– this is the vision of Maumsanchaek

 

 

The name “Maumsanchaek” has three meanings. Could you please tell us more of each meaning along with the unique vision you have?

 

Well, the first meaning is “taking a stroll into your mind, a walk into ideas,” and the second meaning is “a mind-mountain (maum refers to the mind, and san refers to a mountain) built up by reading.” The last meaning is “the book I bought as I liked it.” The three meanings are all the values that we try to pursue, but in particular, our vision is to carry out communication with readers through books that permeates into the readers’ minds just like the third meaning.

 

Maumsanchaek

Maumsanchaek

 

Last but not least, what values does Maumsanchaek pursue as a publisher?

 

We would be publishing literary, liberal arts, and art books just as we’ve been doing until now, but the most important thing is the value of the content. We hope that Maumsanchaek is remembered as a publisher who makes books that can be only explained by books, and focus more on how to include and present more refined and qualified content. The content here would be producing new issues and leading talks in accordance with the generational trend. At the same time, from a perfunctory perspective, we also dream of becoming a publisher that readers remember in an image by producing works they can own with a vivid texture of paper and design.

 

 


Organized by Kim Moon-Soo

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