A talk, Q&A and book signing with North Korean defector Sungju Lee, author of "Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea".
"Every Falling Star", the first book to portray contemporary North Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju who is forced at age twelve to live on the streets and fend for himself. To survive, Sungju creates a gang and lives by thieving, fighting, begging, and stealing rides on cargo trains. Sungju richly re-creates his scabrous story, depicting what it was like for a boy alone to create a new family with his gang, his “brothers”; to be hungry and to fear arrest, imprisonment, and even execution. This riveting memoir allows young readers to learn about other cultures where freedoms they take for granted do not exist.
The Guardian, 13 September 2016: "For many teenagers, North Korea is written off as a meme, a silly joke, or a country that could not possibly be real.
But in his memoir, Every Falling Star, North Korean defector Sungju Lee attempts to flip this narrative on its head.
Lee was born into a wealthy military family but when he turned 12 things started to go wrong. He was separated from his parents and forced to fend for himself on the streets of Gyeong-seong, in the north-east of the country, where he joined a street gang.
Every Falling Star presents North Korea as a horrifying real-life dystopia. The book, the first of its kind aimed at young adults, is a first-person account of what it is like to be born and raised in a terrifying environment.
Lee describes how he ate insects to survive, became a pickpocket and, in one of the book’s most heartbreaking scenes, was forced to bury some of his close friends.
Every Falling Star is part memoir, part history lesson – a welcome approach as reliable information from the country is notoriously tricky to source."
"A pampered son of the elite survives a nightmarish ordeal in this page-turner of a memoir... This fast-paced story will likely compel its readers to learn more about North Korea after finishing it." — Kirkus
"A testament to resilence, Lee's story pulls back the curtain on life in North Korea." — Publishers Weekly
About the authors: Sungju Lee speaks across Europe, Asia, and North America about his experiences and about North Korean political social issues. He lives in South Korea but studies in England.
Susan Elizabeth McClelland’s first book, Bite of the Mango, was a worldwide sensation, published in more than 30 countries. She lives in Toronto, Canada.