20 Oct 2015

Feature interview - Yeonmi Park

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 3:10 pm on 20 October 2015

Yeonmi Park grew up in North Korea, where starvation was a daily threat and her mother constantly warned her to be careful because even mice and birds have ears.

Yeonmi Park

Photo: Supplied/ Penguin Press

At age 13, she and her mother escaped to China where they were at the mercy of human traffickers.

Eventually, after a four day journey across the frozen Gobi desert, she and her Mother made it to safety in South Korea.

Park is now a human rights advocate.

She tells her story in a new book called In Order To Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom

Park grew up in North Korea, but didn’t realize the extent of the nation’s privation and repression until her father, a civil servant, was arrested for smuggling.

The family soon lost its relatively privileged status and, facing starvation, Park and her mother escaped to the South.

Her memoir is a harrowing account of the long journey through China and Mongolia at the mercy of human traffickers.

Today, Park is a human rights advocate and a leader of young Korean dissidents.

She talks to Afternoons about her new book.