In Secret, a North Korean Writer Protests the Regime
Bandi is the pen name of a North Korean writer. He is believed to be a propaganda writer for the government who began to write, secretly, fiction and poems critical of the regime. (Details of his biography cannot be verified, because identifying him publically would put his life in jeopardy.) His work was smuggled out of the country in circumstances that resemble a spy novel, and has recently been published in the West. The New Yorker Radio Hour’s Mythili Rao has written about Bandi’s fiction and poetry. She spoke with the translator of the poems, a scholar of Korean culture named Heinz Insu Fenkl. Fenkl says the poems reflect a sophisticated approach that turns literary devices familiar to North Korean readers to subversive purposes.
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