Literary Life in North Korea at Publishing Perspectives

Publishing Perspectives has an interesting look at literary life in North Korea. While it may not be news, North Korea is not the Soviet Union with its underground of writers hoping to smuggle their work out to the west. North Korea is so controlled that even those risky moments of rebellion don’t exist. And naturally, the works are pure propoganda

B.R. Myers warns that “North Korea is country in which all cultural activity is subjugated to the needs of the Workers Party. Even a simple love story, for example, will carry a propaganda message — a man will fall in love with a woman because she has the right attitude toward working for the state.”

Another typical story might be: A solider is lazy and not sweeping the floor of his tent, so a comrade does it for him. The bad soldier comes in and sees what has been done and bursts into tears and says he’s sorry.

The author of the book The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters by B.R. Myers (Melville House) which is partly reviewed you may know as the author of attacks on modern literature that have appeared in The Atlantic.