Fig Tree buys defector's memoir

Fig Tree buys defector's memoir

Penguin General's Fig Tree imprint has bought a memoir by 21-year-old North Korean defector Yeonmi Park.

Publisher Juliet Annan bought world rights from Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown in a deal which sees Penguin UK partnering with Amanda Urban selling to Ann Godoff at Penguin Press in the USA.

Park has emerged as a leading spokesperson for North Korean human rights, said Penguin.

Born into the Korean "middle class", she grew up believing that Kim Jong-Il could read her mind. Park’s entrepreneur father was imprisoned and tortured by the North Korean regime, and on his release he escaped with his family into China only to succumb to cancer shortly afterwards.

Park and her mother were sold into slavery, from which they escaped by walking across the freezing Gobi Desert, following the constellations in the night sky to reach freedom, and they eventually made their way to South Korea.

There, Park has begun to make a name for herself as an outspoken critic of North Korea, of the situation of North Korean refugees in South Korea, and in general as a spokesperson for her generation.

Park’s book, which will be written together with bestselling US writer Maryanne Vollers, will aim to bring the changing story of North Korea and its human rights story to an even wider audience.  Penguin will publish in autumn 2015.