Penguin becomes first English Language Trade Publisher to publish classics in Korean

Penguin has signed an agreement with Woongjin Think Big Co., Ltd., one of the largest trade publishers in South Korea, to publish its famous Classics in South Korea.  The partnership makes history as Penguin becomes the first English language publisher to publish classics in Korean.

Through its joint venture partnership with Woongjin, Penguin will publish up to 50 Classics in 2008 with more to follow each year thereafter.  The books will carry the famous Penguin Classics livery with Korean text and joint Penguin/Woongjin branding.  The books will include Korean translations of existing Penguin editorial along with fresh translations into Korean of the original texts commissioned by Woongjin.

John Makinson, Penguin Chairman and Chief Executive, comments: "We're thrilled to be able to announce this important partnership with Woongjin.  With its very strong reading culture South Korea is a particularly exciting market for publishers.  We are confident that the Penguin Classics will be savoured and enjoyed there."

Adam Freudenheim, Penguin Classics Publisher, comments: "Since the publication of the first Classic more than sixty years ago, Penguin has been committed to making the widest range of the best books available to millions around the world.  This partnership with Woongjin marks a significant milestone in that journey."

Bongsoo Choi, Woongjin Think Big President and CEO, comments: "I am very proud and honoured to publish this Penguin Classics series, which I remember reading as a young man. Like the original Classics, our new Woongjin Penguin Classics will be celebrated for their commentary and the quality of translations. I'm sure the series will provide our Korean readers with great insight into each title on the list."

The Korean editions of Penguin Classics will be published from May by Penguin Classics Korea, a new imprint under Woongjin's imprint 'Edition PPUL'. PPUL's publisher Sangsoon Park will take charge of Penguin Classics Korea.

This strategic partnership follows Penguin's announcement that it will publish its Classics in Chinese in cooperation with the Chongqing Publishing Group in China.  The initial list of thirty books include Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and The History of Tom Jones by Henry Fielding. Further titles will incorporate Asian classics as well as additional Western titles.  


For more information:
Rebecca Sinclair         +44 207 010 4279

Editors notes

About Penguin:

Penguin is one of the world's leading consumer publishers.  It is home to other famous names such as Dorling Kindersley, Puffin, Ladybird and Rough Guides and publishes close to 4,000 titles every year for adults and children in fiction and non-fiction, from timeless classics to the hottest bestsellers.  Penguin has offices in 15 countries including the US, UK, Australia, South Africa, India and China.  

About Penguin Classics:

Before 1946 'classics' were mainly the domain of students and academics.  Penguin Classics changed that by making the best books accessible to the widest possible audience.  The series was launched in 1946 with a translation of Homer's Odyssey by E. V. Rieu who became the first editor of the Penguin Classics.  Rieu's translation of the Odyssey became an immediate triumph and went on to sell some three million copies, occupying the position of the bestselling Penguin until usurped fifteen years on by Lady Chatterley s Lover and, ultimately, Animal Farm.

Over the years, the Penguin Classics grew in number, taking in works translated from Russian, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, German and a growing number of Middle and Far Eastern languages becoming the most comprehensive library of world literature available from any paperback publisher: a position that has continued to be maintained and consolidated, supplemented with the Penguin Modern Classics, Classics Audio Books, the Penguin Popular Classics and the Red Classics.  Today the series consists of over 1,200 titles ranging from The Epic of Gilgamesh to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. And it is still just as committed to making the widest range of the best books from around the world available to millions, in editions that are up to date, authoritative and readable.  

"The Penguin Classics, though I designed them to give pleasure even more than instruction, have been hailed as the greatest educative force of the twentieth century. And far be it for me to quarrel with that encomium, for there is no one whom they have educated more than myself." E. V. Rieu, on his retirement in 1964

About Woongjin Think Big:

Woongjin Think Big, one of the largest publishers in Korea, consists of three divisions: the leading private home tutoring service, a publishing and door to door distribution service and a trade book publishing arm through which it publishes more than 500 titles a year. In 2007 Woongjin Think Big was the market leader in trade book sales. Its Trade Book Group consists of more than 20 imprints publishing both fiction and non-fiction titles for adults and children.