Author Suki Kim discusses her undercover reporting in North Korea

Suki Kim is the only writer to ever go undercover in North Korea. An award-winning novelist, the South Korean-born American writer has been travelling to North Korea since 2002, witnessing both Kim Jong-Il’s 60th Birthday Celebration and his death in 2011. For six months, she worked as an English teacher at a school for the sons of North Korea’s elites while secretly writing a book about the regime. The experience gave her unprecedented insights into the country’s current state and its psychology. Ms. Kim’s most recent book, Without You, There Is No Us, is a New York Times Bestseller that sheds new light on a place that has been, for the past 70 years, completely shrouded from the eyes of the world.

Ms. Kim gave a presentation to the UMaine community about her work under the title, “Undercover in North Korea.” She gave a riveting account of daily life at the school, which she described as “heavily guarded” and “claustrophobic.” Despite such an environment, Ms. Kim began to love her students like brothers as she saw glimpses of their daily lives and their boyish curiosity in the classroom and during meals.

Learn more about Suki Kim’s work at her website.