Krys Lee presents How I Became a North Korean, a debut novel that follows the lives of three characters as they struggle to survive in the complex and dangerous Chinese territory bordering North Korea. In order to escape their circumstances, Yongju, Jangmi and Danny cross borders—struggling against informants, spouses, thieves, abductors, and even missionaries in the process—and eventually cross paths with one another. Against a harsh and unforgiving backdrop, they form a kind of adoptive family while they struggle to create better lives. How I became a North Korean is inspired by Lee’s personal experiences as a humanitarian helping North Korean refugees and it is a brilliant exploration of the persistence of humanity under dire circumstances.
Krys Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea, raised in California and Washington, and studied in the United States and England. Her debut story collection, Drifting House, was awarded the 2012 Story Prize Spotlight Award and was a finalist for the 2012 BBC International Story Prize. Her work has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Narrative magazine, Granta (New Voices), The Guardian, Financial Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Conde Nast Traveller, UK, and other publications. She is a professor of creative writing at Yonsei University’s Underwood International College in Seoul.
Adam Johnson is the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Orphan Master’s Son and the National Book Award winning short story collection Fortune Smiles . He teaches creative writing at Stanford University. His fiction has appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, Harper’s, Tin House, Granta, and Playboy, as well as The Best American Short Stories. His other works include Emporium, a short-story collection, and the novel Parasites Like Us. He lives in San Francisco.
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