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Han Ung-bin

An official author bio from Han Ung-Bin is not available, but translator Stephen Epstein writes of meeting his work, and then the author himself:

"I found 'Second Encounter' by reading through almost all the short fiction that appeared in the North Korean state-run literary magazine, Chosôn munhak [Korean Literature], during 1998 and 1999. The story struck me as the most interesting and worthy of translation of any that I came across. I got in touch because I was part of a New Zealand delegation to Pyongyang in 2001, and we were asked for our wish list of whom we'd like to meet while there, and I put his name down. In the DPRK, such meetings are easily enough arranged if the higher-ups approve.

"We had an interesting conversation. He seemed to me very kindhearted and I noted how extraordinarily gaunt he was--this despite being among at least a minor elite in the DPPK. Authors are well respected, although their relative salaries are not especially high. His faith and belief in his country came through very strongly to me. I'd asked if in fact he had ever been a guide to a foreigner in the story and he said, no, that was entirely made up, although he knew people who had and had asked them a bit about it. The Western journalist in the story is entirely a fiction. The other very interesting detail I recall him telling me is that he started his working life as a coal miner but enjoyed writing fiction in his spare time. He submitted some of his stories to journals and his talent was recognized. He was eventually taken to Pyongyang to be trained and to become a writer in the employ of the state (as all professional writers are)."

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