About this Event
Join us for our second edition of Writers Block – a free virtual community event dedicated to Korean American authors and their personal stories. You will be able to ask your favorite authors questions first-hand and get to know them in an exclusive Zoom room. Limited spots available.
This program is made possible by our monthly Storytellers Circle donors. Consider joining in order to keep events like this free!
This event will be recorded and published afterward. If you would like to opt-out, you may disable your camera during the event.
About E.J. Koh, Author of The Magical Language of Others
E. J. Koh is the author of the poetry collection A Lesser Love, winner of the Pleiades Press Editors Prize, and co-translator of Yi Won’s The World’s Lightest Motorcycle, forthcoming from Zephyr Press. Her poems, translations, and stories have appeared in Boston Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, and World Literature Today, among others. She earned her MFA in Literary Translation and Creative Writing from Columbia University, and is completing the PhD program at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is a recipient of MacDowell and Kundiman fellowships.
About the book The Magical Language of Others:
The Magical Language of Others is a powerful and aching love story in letters, from mother to daughter. After living in America for over a decade, Eun Ji Koh’s parents return to South Korea for work, leaving fifteen-year-old Eun Ji and her brother behind in California. Overnight, Eun Ji finds herself abandoned and adrift in a world made strange by her mother’s absence. Her mother writes letters in Korean over the years seeking forgiveness and love—letters Eun Ji cannot fully understand until she finds them years later hidden in a box.
As Eun Ji translates the letters, she looks to history—her grandmother Jun’s years as a lovesick wife in Daejeon, the loss and destruction her grandmother Kumiko witnessed during the Jeju Island Massacre—and to poetry, as well as her own lived experience to answer questions inside all of us. Where do the stories of our mothers and grandmothers end and ours begin? How do we find words—in Korean, Japanese, English, or any language—to articulate the profound ways that distance can shape love?
The Magical Language of Others weaves a profound tale of hard-won selfhood and our deep bonds to family, place, and language, introducing—in Eun Ji Koh—a singular, incandescent voice.
About the Host, Jay Oh
Jay is a board member of KoreanAmericanStory.org, as well as the Senior Director of Arts and Culture at the Korea Society. She has worked in publishing and non-profit art organizations in Greensboro, N.C., Minneapolis, and New York.