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Photo: Annette Hornischer

Writer; Contributing Editor, The New Republic

Holtzbrinck Fellow - Class of Fall 2019

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. Her unprecedented journalistic undertaking resulted in a New York Times bestseller, Without You, There Is No Us: Undercover among the Sons of North Korea’s Elite (Penguin Random House, 2014).


Kim’s first novel, The Interpreter (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), was the winner of a PEN Open Book Award and a finalist for a PEN Hemingway Prize. Her articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, Atlantic, New Yorker, and the New Republic, where she is a contributing editor. Her essay on fear for Lapham’s Quarterly was selected for The Best American Essays 2018 (Houghton Mifflin Hartcourt). Kim’s investigation of sexual harassment at WNYC for The Cut was voted “Best Investigative Reporting 2017” by Longreads and led to an internal shakedown of the station, resulting in the dismissal of some of its longest-serving program hosts and eventual exit of its president. Kim has been featured in the international media, including on Christiane Amanpour and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. She is the recipient of Guggenheim, Open Society, Fulbright, and New America fellowships, and served as a Ferris journalism professor at Princeton University. Her 2015 TED Talk has drawn millions of viewers online.

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