From South Korea, acclaimed novelist Krys Lee reads at Yuba Lit in Nevada City |

From South Korea, acclaimed novelist Krys Lee reads at Yuba Lit in Nevada City

Submitted to Prospector
Krys Lee's novel, "How I Became a North Korean," follows three reugees as they fight to survive in a small Chinese town north of the North Korean border.
Submitted photo to Prospector |

Krys Lee, author of the internationally acclaimed novel “How I Became a North Korean,” will read her work and answer audience questions at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at the Stone House in Nevada City. The reading — a rare U.S. appearance by a writer who lives in Seoul, South Korea, where she teaches at Yonsei University — is being presented by Yuba Lit, the popular local reading series.

“We don’t normally hold a Yuba Lit reading in February, but when Krys told me she would be visiting I could not pass up the opportunity to present her,” said Yuba Lit founder and producer Rachel Howard. “Krys’s writing is of the highest quality, her perspective on North Korea and its refugees is so timely, and Krys is simply one of the wisest and most fascinating human beings I’ve been privileged to know. I hope anyone who loves great literature and understands the power of fiction to shine a different kind of light on world events will come hear her.”

“How I Became a North Korean” received widespread and even solemn praise.

The San Francisco Chronicle said, “The more confusing and horrible our world becomes, the more critical the role of fiction in communicating both the facts and the meaning of other people’s lives. Krys Lee joins writers like Anthony Marra, Khaled Hosseini and Elnathan John in this urgent work.”

Lee’s novel follows three refugees — one the son of elite North Korean parents, one an American boy, and one a North Korean woman who sells herself into an arranged marriage — as they fight to survive in a small Chinese town just north of the North Korean border.

The Guardian (UK) writes: “Lee has worked with North Korean refugees, and her hotly anticipated debut novel vividly captures the challenges faced by defectors.”

Lee is also the author of the short story collection Drifting House, which was a finalist for the BBC International Story Prize. She is a recipient of the Rome Prize and the Honor Title in Adult Fiction Literature from the Asian/Pacific American Libraries Association. Her fiction, journalism, and literary translations have appeared in Granta, The Kenyon Review, Narrative, San Francisco Chronicle, Corriere della Sera, and The Guardian, among others.

“Even with all her extraordinary accomplishments, Krys is first and foremost a warm and approachable person with a big heart,” said Howard, who met Lee when both were studying in Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers. “I’m so thrilled that our local community will have this special chance to meet her.”

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., with the Stone House offering a light-bites menu and no-host bar. The Stone House is located at 107 Sacramento St., Nevada City.

A $10 donation payable by cash or check at the door supports Yuba Lit’s production costs. Patrons may reserve a seat by writing to with their name and number of guests.

Yuba Lit is a fiscally sponsored project of the Nevada County Arts Council, a not-for-profit organization, and donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

For more information visit The series also has a Facebook page at

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