Author Choi In-hun will be awarded an honorary degree from SNU on February 24 at age 80.
Born on April 13, 1936 in Hoeyrong City, North Hamgyong Province of North Korea, Choi fled to South Korea with his family when the Korean War broke out in 1950. He was admitted to college of Law at SNU in 1952. During his attendance, the 6.25 war broke out, and he was enlisted in the army, one semester before graduation. He served as an English interpreter and TI &E (troop information &education) officer for seven years. His leave of absence expired, and he was unable to graduate from SNU.
Bang Minho, Professor of Department of Korean Language &Literature recommended the honorary degree and said that he and his graduate students have studied Choi In-hun and his works for more than a year, and it was a pity that he was unable to graduate from SNU for unpreventable reasons. He believed that SNU should “give back to him as he has given to literature.”
It was during his service in the army that Choi’s debut work “The Square” was published. The novel deals with the division of Korea and the role of ideologies in the country, taking place just before the Korean war. It is known as one of a classic of Korean modern literature.
His other notable works include “A Grey Man,” “House of Idols,” and “Storm.” He has won numerous awards such as The Dongin Literary Award (196); The Best Playwright Prize of the Hankook Theater and Film Awards (1977); The Meritorious Prize in the Arts Category of the JoongAng Cultural Awards (1978); The Seoul Theater Critics Group Award (1979); The Isan Literary Award (1994); and The Distinguished Alumnus Award of Seoul National University's College of Law (2004).
From 1977 to 2011, Choi served as a Professor of Creative Writing at Seoul Institute of the Arts.
Although the SNU School of Law no longer has the undergraduate program that Choi attended at the time, the Dean of SNU School of Law said, “We want to celebrate writer Choi In-hun’s endless pursuit of democracy and his authorial spirit which seeks to realize this effort through his works. SNU School of Law wants to embrace this spirit as a traditional value of our law school.”
65 years after his admission, the SNU School of Law will award Choi with his honorary graduate degree.
Written by Ho Jung Annie Hwang, SNU English Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, email@example.com