Yang Gui-ja (born 1955) is a South Korean writer.
South Korean novelist Yang Gui-ja was born July 1, 1955, in Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do and graduated from Wonkwang University in 1978 with a degree in Korean Literature. She later moved to Seoul after her marriage in 1980. Yang made her literary debut with the short stories Starting a New Morning and The Door Already Closed (two titles which hint at the breadth of her approach). In 1986 she achieved popular success with the release of her collection of linked short stories Neighbors in Wonmi-dong, for which she is still most famous. This collection was a painstaking depiction of the lives of people on the periphery of industrial culture. In 1988 Yang won the Fifth Yoo Juhyoen Literature award and followed up by winning the even more prestigious Lee Sang Literature Award in 1992.
As the 1990s turned into a consumer culture in Korea, and a mood of disillusionment replaced the political (and to some extent economic) hope that had characterized the nation. Yang’s work followed along. In 1992 she wrote The Hidden Flower which told the story, in some ways autobiographical, or an author searching for new hope after her old ideals have been destroyed. In The Road to Cheonma Tombs, Yang’s protagonist successfully struggles to come to terms with his past trauma and current powerlessness. The Hidden Flower and The Road to Cheonma Tombs are collected with three other stories, Mountain Flower, Opportunist, and Sadness Gives Strength, in a collection named for the latter story.
Since the mid-1980s she has been known as more than a fiction writer, writing in women's magazines, newspapers, and other general media. In the 1990s she also opened a popular restaurant in Seoul.