Bandi

Bandi

Bandi (Korean for "Firefly"; born 1950) is the pseudonym used by a North Korean writer.

Bandi was born in 1950 in China to Korean parents who had moved there fleeing the Korean War. Bandi grew up in China before the family moved back to North Korea. In the 1970s, Bandi managed to publish some of his early writing in North Korean publications.

After the death of Kim Il-sung in 1994 and the hardship that followed, Bandi lost several people close to him to famine and defections. These developments made Bandi disillusioned with the North Korean system and he started to write dissident literature. The opportunity to publish his dissident writing presented itself when Bandi's friend from Hamhung defected to China. Although the friend could not risk taking the manuscripts with her, she promised that she would find a way to bring them abroad. Several months later, a man previously unknown to Bandi came to see him and passed him a note from the friend, asking Bandi to give the man his manuscripts, 743 slips of paper. With the help of this messenger, Bandi's work made its way to South Korea, where it was published.

In North Korea, Bandi is a member of the country's Korean Writers' Alliance (ko) and writes for its publications. Bandi still lives in North Korea. Although he has expressed willingness to defect, he could not do so because he has family in the country.


The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea
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