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Reading and writing ...

Reading fuels the writing in the same way as seeing a great movie, listening to music, walking the beach or seeing an art exhibition, just more so.

My new book … A story of two sisters, one in the US, the other in Korea, and the family that bound them together even as the Korean War kept them apart.

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Years ago I started writing a true ghost story about my maternal grandfather. The story kept growing and wouldn’t let me go. Though that writing is still unfinished, it was a touchstone for the wealth of family lore I’d heard throughout my life. I also discovered there were very few books in English about Korean life during the Japanese occupation and even fewer from a woman’s point of view. With Asia’s long tradition of suppressing the female voice, this vacuum felt more like a silence than an oversight, intriguing me further. The writings grew and I soon realized I couldn’t do justice to the vividness of my family’s stories unless I could make them come more alive — through fiction.

Shin Dong-Hyuk, North Korean defector

One Story from North Korea

I believe that personal stories are the way most of us connect with the greater tragedies and joys of the world around us, because it was my own mother’s stories that inspir…
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