Born in 1933 in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province, Korea, Ko Un is Korea's foremost living writer. After immense suffering during the Korean War, he became a Buddhist monk. A few years later he returned to the world. After years of dark nihilism, he became a leading spokesman in the struggle for freedom and democracy during the 1970s and 1980s, when he was often arrested and imprisoned. He has published more than 150 volumes of poems, essays, and fiction, including the monumental seven-volume epic Mount Paekdu and the 30-volume Maninbo (Ten Thousand Lives) series. Bloodaxe published a selection of his recent poetry, First Person Sorrowful, in 2012. He has appeared at numerous festivals, and was given the Golden Wreath, one of the world's most prestigious awards for poetry, during the international poetry festival Struga Poetry Evenings in Macedonia in August 2014.
"This volume serves as a testimony, a monumental feat of remembrance memorializing the lives of ordinary people interrupted by extraordinary events." -- World Literature Today "World Literature Today"