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[Herald Interview] Through memories, Bora Jin pens ode to grandfather and Busan

Memories may fade with time, but the genuine emotions within the memories persist, Bora Jin, an author and winner of the 2022 New Korean Voice Prize, said about her debut novel, “A Prescription for You From Memory Care.”

The award was launched by the New York-based Barbara J. Zitwer Agency in collaboration with the Charm Agency in Seoul to discover new voices in the Korean literary scene. After Jin's win a year ago, the book was published in August.

The inspiration for the novel came from a promise that Jin had made to her grandfather, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She said her writing was to cherish their precious memories.

“I was really close to my grandfather. He lived in our neighborhood, and I used to visit him often. Our personalities were similar. He was the only one who understood me, even more so than my parents,” said Jin in a recent interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul.

She described him as a vivacious person who was a bit brusque, but warm. He had a penchant for fashion, owning an extensive collection of colorful fedoras. At the age of 60, he went to Beijing to study and returned with an acupuncture license. Jin's eyes sparkled as she recounted tales of her grandfather. He passed away in 2018, before she started work on her novel.

About six years ago, when he was diagnosed with cancer, his strength began to wane. Jin was spending time with him one day when he asked her to take a photo of him, with his eyes closed, from above.

“I took the photo and he said he was curious about how he would look after his death. At that moment, it struck me that I would lose him," she said. "I think my grandfather wanted to be remembered and not forgotten by his loved ones. I felt compelled to write a book in his memory."

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