About the Writer: Lee Ho-Cheol

Editor’s Note

Lee Ho-cheol, one of Korea’s most renowned writers, passed away at the age of eighty-five on September 18, 2016. Experiencing historical upheavals, division, war, displacement, and the birth pangs of democracy in South Korea, Lee spent a lifetime studying the issues of war and division. To commemorate Lee’s journey to overcome division and achieve the unification of the Korean peninsula, the Featured Writer section includes an interview conducted in 2013, as well as write-ups from both Korean and foreign critics about his works.


Born on March 15, 1932 in Wonsan, South Hamgyeong Province, now part of North Korea, Lee Ho-cheol was in his last year of high school when the Korean War broke out in 1950. After being sent to war as a soldier and then getting captured as a prisoner of war, he managed to return to his hometown, only to be separated from his family again when he fled south alone. He made his literary debut when “Far from Home” was published in Literary Arts in 1955 on the recommendation of his literary idol, Hwang Sun-Won. In 1960 as a journalist he was sent to observe talks held at the border in Panmunjom and was able to talk with fellow journalists from North Korea. The short story ...