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Literature on North Korean defection can be divided into two categories. The first kind is authored by professional South Korean writers exploring North Korean defection as a phenomenon linked to reunification and changes in international relations. The second kind is by actual North Korean defectors writing from experience about their escape and tortuous journey that finally brought them to South Korea.
This conversation was conducted with novelist Chang Hae Seong, literary critic Hyun Inae, and novelist Lim Il, members of the North Korean Writers in Exile PEN Center who write to raise awareness on North Korean human rights. It was hosted by Professor Park Dukkyu of Dankook University, who has written extensively on the subject of North Korean defection in South Korean literature since the late 1990s and is a published author of short stories in the same genre.
Lim Il is a member of North Korean Writers in Exile PEN Center. Lim previously worked at the Ministry of People’s Security, the Council for the Promotion of Foreign Trade, and a North Korean construction company in Kuwait. He defected to South Korea in 1997 and has been writing since 2005. He is the author of the essay collection Shall I Go Back to Pyongyang? and the novel Kim Jong-il, among others.
Hyun Inae is an Associated Research Fellow at the Ewha Institute of Unification Studies and member of North Korean Writers in Exile PEN Center. Hyun defected to South Korea in 2004 and has since earned a doctorate in North Korean studies from Ewha Womans University. She contributes to the radio drama Cheon-bok and Man-gil.
Chang Hae Seong is President of North Korean Writers in Exile PEN Center and a former reporter and writer for Korean Central TV. Chang defected to South Korea in 1996 and has since worked as a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Strategy (INSS). He is the author of the novel Tumen River and numerous short stories, and also writes for the radio drama Cheon-bok and Man-gil.