Undercover in North Korea
Suki Kim is a novelist, investigative journalist, and the only writer ever to have conducted undercover immersive journalism in North Korea. Born and raised in South Korea, now based in New York, she traveled to Pyongyang for the first time in 2002, joining a Kim Jong-il loyalist group and writing about it for a cover feature of the New York Review of Books. During a decade-long investigation, she returned to North Korea repeatedly, witnessing events from Kim Jong-il’s sixtieth birthday celebration to the nation in the wake of his death nine years later, and reporting on defectors for Harper’s. In 2011, the final year of his reign, she spent six months undercover, living in a locked compound of a military-guarded all-male university for Pyongyang’s future leaders. In this talk, Kim discusses the country’s recent history as well as the New York Times bestseller that resulted from her unprecedented journalistic undertaking, Without You, There Is No Us: Undercover among the Sons of North Korea’s Elite (Penguin Random House, 2014), and her current book-in-progress, about the consequences of war and the future of the divided Koreas.