Famed Novelist Found Dead in Apparent Suicide

  • By Jung Sang-hyuk

    September 06, 2017 11:19

    The novelist Ma Kwang-soo was found dead at his home on Tuesday. He was 66. His body was discovered by his sister at around 1:30 p.m. at his home in the affluent Ichon-dong district in central Seoul. He was found hanging on the porch of his apartment.

    A letter found at the scene asked that his body and assets be handled by his sister.

    Ma married in 1985 but divorced five years later and had no children. He was recently diagnosed with severe depression and doctors recommended a hospital stay, but he refused and had been taking medication, according to police.

    Ma Kwang-soo poses at home with his books in this file photo from September 2015.

    Ma debuted as a poet in 1977 and is famous for his sexually explicit novels, including "Happy Sara," for which he served an eight-month prison term for obscenity in the late 1990s.

    He was also fired by Yonsei University, where he taught Korean Literature, but was reinstated in 1998 after a pardon from then-President Kim Dae-jung.

    Ma's depression apparently worsened after he retired in August of last year, when he complained about ostracism from the academic community and anger of people who criticized him without ever reading his books, "simply because I wrote about sex."

    He lamented that his "pent-up anger" caused his body to grow weary and ill but said he wished to see his country "become more honest" and continued writing. He published a book of poetry in January this year.

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