Here’s the US paperback release of White Chrysanthemum. Hopefully this beautiful new cover will reach many more people across America. There are so few Korean ‘comfort women’ still alive today–eight women died this year. I still meet so many people who have never heard of them, what they endured, or how many perished during WWII. History is written by the victors, yet women’s history is largely ignored. It’s time to remember, to tell women’s stories, so they will be ingrained in our collective memory. White Chrysanthemum tells one story, a historically ‘shameful’ one, hidden for decades, until a woman finally comes forward to tell her loved ones what happened to a sister long forgotten.
It’s been nearly one year since I attended my first literature festival as a debut author. Cheltenham Literary Festival invited me to discuss White Chrysanthemum before it had even reached bookshop shelves. A year has passed, many translations have been published around the world, and I’m headed back to Cheltenham to speak on a panel with Korean American author Min Jin Lee (with her fabulous novel, Pachinko). What an amazing journey I’ve had since stepping off the train in Cheltenham Spa last year–I’m so pleased to return because it feels like I have come full circle. ❤️🙏🤗 Come by, say hi, and take some books home with you!
Translated into German, White Chrysanthemum becomes And Above Me The Sea. I love the cover, the poetic title and the timing. It’s the day after the autumnal equinox and the days grow darker from here. I hope German readers fall in love with Hana and Emi. I hope the story of the ‘comfort women’ translates across language and border and personal experience. I hope so much for this novel. ❤️
Some days are better than others. These books of beautiful poems arrived today and I can’t wait to get lost in them. Poems are meant to be read, re-read, read aloud, chewed over and discussed so they can sink into the marrow of our bones and bond with our souls. Here’s to a soul-bonding weekend 📚🥂
This Saturday, 22 September is the Milton Keynes Literary Festival and I’m very much looking forward to this event. Join me for a Book Club talk about White Chrysanthemum. We’ll discuss the book, ‘comfort women’, haenyeo divers, Hana and Emi, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about writing, publishing, and first books (and the trials of writing the second)! More info here: MKLITFEST
The UK 🇬🇧 paperback for White Chrysanthemum is out today! This year has been an amazing journey and I’m extremely thankful to everyone who made this book happen. Thank you for believing in this novel, for falling in love with Hana and Emi, and for sharing the story of the Korean ‘comfort women’ with the world. Writing this book has changed my life. Thank you to everyone who has read it and sent me messages of support. I will never forget what happened to the ‘comfort women’. They remain always in my thoughts and hopefully in yours. We live on when we are remembered by those who follow, whether or not our lives are written into history. #neverforget
I’m here on this cold, drizzly day anticipating this wonderful event tonight with Wu Ming-Yi and Lee Randall. When I was a student writing my novel, I had no idea of the life that awaited me. I’m so pleased to be here, honored to be among so many brilliant writers, and humbled by this beautiful event. ‘Digging into Trauma’ is an apt title for our session as both our novels travel far below the comfort of normal lives, venturing into the grief stricken, the lost and the painful. Within those lives there are also moments of beauty, love and sometimes forgiveness. It is in these lives we can hope to one day find peace.
Arrive a bit early to listen to us read writing from survivors of torture. This important event highlights true stories from real people suffering today.