Catherine Chung was born in Evanston, IL during a furious blizzard that dropped over 20 inches of snow on the ground and wreaked havoc all over Chicago. Writing has been her life-long passion, but as an undergraduate she indulged in a brief, one-sided affair with mathematics at the University of Chicago. Then she moved to Santa Monica where it was always sunny, and worked at a think tank by the sea. She scribbled and scribbled, writing stories and poems, and eventually attended the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing at Cornell University.
There she was lucky enough to meet amazing teachers and friends, and she spent the following years teaching, working on her first novel, Forgotten Country, and moving from place to place. She and her book were given shelter and encouragement at MacDowell, Jentel, Hedgebrook, SFAI, Camargo, The University of Leipzig, and Yaddo. Her brother, Heesoo Chung, also gave her a bed and fed her lots of ice cream during this time.
Recently named one of Granta's New Voices, Catherine is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize nomination and a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize. She is a member of the birdsong collective, and is on the advisory board of Paris Press. She currently lives in Brooklyn.
This biography was last updated on 03/16/2012.
A note about the biographies
We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate. However, with over 2500 lives to keep track of it's inevitable that some won't be as current or as complete as we would like. So, please help us - if the information about a particular author is out of date, inaccurate or simply very short, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and those connected with authors: If you wish to make changes to your bio, please send your complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.
"Letters to Home"
an essay by Catherine Chung
Every family has secrets. Ours was an aunt I'd never met, never even knew existed until one day forty years after she disappeared, she sent us a letter. She was alive, she told us: she'd gotten married, had children, thought of her brothers and sisters and deceased parents often. How was everyone, she asked. What had happened in our lives? And could we send pictures?
My aunt was a college student in Seoul when she went missing some time after the Korean War. The North Koreans had been kidnapping people for several years, and one night they raided her dorm. The next morning my aunt and a handful of other girls were gone. Even now, over ten years after I found out about her, this is almost all I know.
As a child, my parents' history had always seemed far away and long ago. This made it all the more mysterious, and Korea itself had its own pull on my imagination, a place so sorely missed by them, which had the power to transform them into happier, more comfortable people. Even though I hadn't been born there like my brother, I still learned the lesson immigrants must learn: how heavy the lost life weighs in the new one.
The revelation of my aunt's existence made ...
Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions
From NYT bestselling author Ann Leary
The captivating story of an unconventional New England family.
Solve this clue:
and be entered to win..
Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.
Your guide toexceptional books
BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.