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North Korean Author's Short Stories Gain International Attention

An anonymous North Korean author who goes by the pseudonym Bandi is turning heads in the international literary community with a collection of short stories about life in the oppressive country.

The Accusation, which has been pre-empted by several international publishers across Europe and North America, tells the stories of different characters living in 1990s North Korea, reports The Guardian. Its publication is being praised by international media and has earned Bandi comparisons to Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

“They are personal stories...but pervading every molecule is the terror of the North Korean regime,” Barbara Zitwer, the literary agent for Bandi’s collection, told The Guardian.

Thanks to assistance from the Happy Reunification Road Organization, Bandi's collection was originally smuggled out of North Korea in 2014 and published in South Korea. It has since caught the eye of international publishers, as it was “unheard of until now” to find a work of fiction from North Korea.

Rights to The Accusation have been pre-empted by western publishers such as Grove Press (North America), Libros del Asteroide (Spain), Ambo Anthos (the Neitherlands) and Éditions Philippe Picquie (which is publishing a French translation this month) as well as Japanese and Taiwanese publishers. Further pre-empts from Germany, Israel, Sweden, Italy and other countries are expected to take place before the London Book Fair in April.

According to Zitwer, the publication of The Accusation “is confirmation of the indomitable spirit of freedom of thought and imagination”.

[Photo via DPRK 360]

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