Global Publishers Woo N.Korean Defector

      December 08, 2014 11:45

      Park Yeon-mi /Courtesy of Freedom Factory

      North Korean defector Park Yeon-mi, who is touring Europe to lecture about North Korea's human rights abuses, is being courted by global publishers with a view to bringing out her autobiography next year.

      Italy's Corriere della Sera reported that Penguin acquired the rights for the U.S. and U.K., Goldmann for Germany, and Bompiani for Italy -- all major players.

      According to British industry magazine The Bookseller, Park's autobiography will be published under Penguin General's Fig Tree imprint, which handles popular non-fiction. Penguin and Goldmann are part of Penguin Random House, the world's largest publishing and media conglomerate. Bompiani is part of the Italian media conglomerate RSS.

      Park fled North Korea in 2009 when she was just 17 after her father was sent to a political prison camp. She came to South Korea after a harrowing journey through Mongolia and recently emerged as an icon of the North Korean human rights struggle after speaking in public about the horrors she suffered in the reclusive country.

      She attended a young leaders' meeting in Ireland last month, called on China to stop repatriating North Korean defectors, and spoke in the U.K. Parliament urging the international community to become more aware of the problem.

      She also told British citizens in an online discussion that North Korean defectors are often ostracized and marginalized in South Korea after risking their lives to get there.

      Park says her mother was raped while trying to protect her during their harrowing escape, and revealed that one South Korean university professor referred to North Korean defectors as "potential terrorists."

      The BBC chose her one of 100 women of 2014.

      Penguin said that Park has become the vanguard of the movement to reform North Korean human rights abuses.

      The book will be written in an "as told to" format by journalist Maryanne Vollers, who wrote "Ghosts of Mississippi" about racism in the U.S. Vollers and ghosted the autobiographies of Hillary Clinton and actresses Sissy Spacek and Ashley Judd.

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