North Korean exile Jihyun Park: ‘The pen can kill innocent people, but it can also kill the devil’

Written by on September 23, 2022

As we settle into our corner table at Rowntree’s Cafe in Bury town centre, my North Korean lunch companion is chatting to our Indonesian waitress about their adopted home. I am still reeling from Jihyun Park’s recent memoir, which I finished the night before.

In 1996, Park was working as a maths teacher on the outskirts of the city of Chongjin in North Korea’s north-east — a job secured, in part, by her mother bribing local university officials with Chinese cigarettes and dried octopus.

The country was undergoing a vicious famine, and . . .

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