E.J. Koh with Hannah Bae

E.J. Koh with Hannah Bae

Wednesday, November 15, 2023 - 7:00PM ET
Event Location: 

Join the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith for a virtual event with author E.J. Koh to discuss and celebrate the release of The Liberators. She will be in conversation with journalist and writer Hannah Bae.

At the height of the military dictatorship in South Korea, Insuk and Sungho are arranged to be married. The couple soon moves to San Jose, California, with an infant and Sungho’s overbearing mother-in-law. Adrift in a new country, Insuk grieves the loss of her past and her divided homeland, finding herself drawn into an illicit relationship that sets into motion a dramatic saga and echoes for generations to come.

From the Gwangju Massacre to the 1988 Olympics, flashbacks to Korean repatriation after Japanese surrender, and the Sewol ferry accident, E. J. Koh’s exquisitely drawn portraits and symphonic testimony from guards, prisoners, perpetrators, and liberators spans continents and four generations of two Korean families forever changed by fateful past decisions made in love and war. Extraordinarily beautiful and deeply moving, The Liberators is an elegantly wrought family saga of memory, trauma, and empathy, and a stunning testament to the consequences and fortunes of inheritance.

E. J. Koh is the author of the debut novel The Liberators and the memoir The Magical Language of Others, which won a Washington State Book Award, Pacific Northwest Book Award, and Association for Asian American Studies Book Award, and was longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award. Koh is also the author of the poetry collection A Lesser Love, a Pleiades Press Editors Prize for Poetry winner. Koh’s work has appeared in AGNIThe AtlanticBoston ReviewLos Angeles Review of BooksPoetrySlateWorld Literature Today, and elsewhere. Koh earned her MFA at Columbia University and her PhD at the University of Washington, and has received National Endowment for the Arts and MacDowell fellowships. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Moderator Hannah Bae is a Korean American freelance journalist, nonfiction writer and illustrator who is at work on a memoir about family estrangement and mental illness. She is the 2020 nonfiction winner of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and a 2021 and 2022 Peter Taylor Fellow for The Kenyon Review Writers Workshops. You can find her work in anthologies such as Our Red Book and (Don’t) Call Me Crazy and online at Asian American Writers' Workshop's The MarginsCatapultThe Washington PostThe San Francisco Chronicle, and other outlets.