The First State-Approved North Korean Novel in English
May 19, 2020 1:43 PM Subscribe
Esther Kim In Conversation with Friend Translator Immanuel Kim
Friend by Paek Namnyong (Columbia University Press, 2020) was first published in 1988 in North Korea where it became a bestseller and a television series that was eventually cancelled. Thirty years later, Friend has become the first state-sanctioned North Korean novel to be published in English, translated by Immanuel Kim. It is, most surprisingly, a novel about love, marriage, and divorce.Obligatory Amazon link
Almost all fiction available today from North Korea was written by defectors or dissidents. Paek Namnyong is neither. A household name in North Korea, he worked first in a steel factory for ten years before enrolling at Kim Il Sung University to study literature. Paek Namnyong became part of the elite group of writers known as the April 15th Literary Production Unit. This group is devoted to writing the mythic biographies of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments