Reading and Conversation with Novelist Krys Lee: How I Became a North Korean

Department: Center for Critical Korean Studies

Date and Time: April 20, 2017 | 5:00 PM-6:30 PM

Event Location: SSPA 1100

Event Details


Reading and Conversation with Novelist Krys Lee: How I Became a North Korean
Discussant: Amy Wilentz

About the author
Krys Lee is the author of the short story collection Drifting House and the recent debut novel How I Became a North Korean, both published by Viking, Penguin Random House. She is a recipient of the Rome Prize and the Story Prize Spotlight Award, the Honor Title in Adult Fiction Literature from the Asian/Pacific American Libraries Association, and finalist for Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the BBC International Story Prize. Her fiction, journalism, and literary translations have appeared in Granta, The Kenyon Review, Narrative, San Francisco Chronicle, Corriere della Sera, and The Guardian, among others. She is an assistant professor of creative writing and literature at Yonsei University, Underwood International College, in South Korea.

About the novel
Yongju is an accomplished student from one of North Korea's most prominent families. Jangmi, on the other hand, has had to fend for herself since childhood, most recently by smuggling goods across the border. Then there is Danny, a Chinese-American teenager whose quirks and precocious intelligence have long made him an outcast in his California high school.

These three disparate lives converge when they flee their homes, finding themselves in a small Chinese town just across the river from North Korea. As they fight to survive in a place where danger seems to close in on all sides, in the form of government informants, husbands, thieves, abductors, and even missionaries, they come to form a kind of adoptive family. But will Yongju, Jangmi and Danny find their way to the better lives they risked everything for?

Transporting the reader to one of the least-known and most threatening environments in the world, and exploring how humanity persists even in the most desperate circumstances, How I Became a North Korean is a brilliant and essential first novel by one of our most promising writers.

Event will include book-signing and a reception.

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Asian Studies. the Center for Critical Korean Studies, and the International Studies Public Forum.