Rolling Reading Series features Suki Kim on Nov. 14

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — New York Times bestselling novelist and journalist Suki Kim will read from her works as part of the Mary E. Rolling Reading Series at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14 in Paterno Library’s Foster Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Kim is the only writer ever to go undercover in North Korea — an experience that yielded her critically acclaimed book of investigative literary nonfiction, “Without You, There Is No Us: Undercover among the Sons of North Korea’s Elite.” The book details her life in North Korea teaching English to the sons of the country’s elite during the final year of Kim Jong-Il’s regime.

Critics praised Kim for her daring undercover journalism and her powerful voice. Diana Pabst Parsell of the Washington Independent Review of Books wrote, “The small and intimate story that Kim relates in ‘Without You’ shows with piercing intensity the effects of North Korea’s totalitarian politics on real lives. More universally, it conveys the tragic loss of human potential and creativity that comes from never being allowed to think for oneself.”  

Trine Tsouderos of the Chicago Tribune calls it “a deeply unsettling book, offering a rare and disturbing inside glimpse into the strangeness, brutality, and claustrophobia of North Korea ... full of small observations that vividly evoke the paranoia and loneliness of a nation living in fear and in thrall to its ‘Great Leaders.’”

Kim is a past recipient of Guggenheim, Fulbright, and George Soros Foundation Open Society fellowships. Her debut novel, “The Interpreter,” was a finalist for the PEN Hemingway Prize, and her other works of nonfiction have appeared in the New York Times, New York Review of Books, Washington Post, Slate, and the New Republic, where she is a contributing editor. Kim currently lives in New York City.

The Mary E. Rolling Reading Series is a project within Penn State’s Creative Writing Program in English. It receives support from Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts; the Department of English; the Joseph L. Grucci Poetry Endowment; the Mary E. Rolling Lectureship in Creative Writing; and University Libraries. Co-sponsorship of Kim’s reading is provided by the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

For a full list of readings in the series, visit:

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Last Updated December 19, 2017