Connect with the Library:

North Korea: The Stories Behind the Conflict

Tuesday, October 24 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Location: Lewis Gallery
Audience: Adults, Teens

Anne Sibley O’Brien’s new novel places two American teenagers on the run from North Korean authorities and places the reader face-to-face with the everyday North Koreans. Join the author as she discusses her lifelong relationship with South Korea, her empathy for the people of North Korea, and her new novel for all ages, In the Shadow of the Sun (Scholastic). O’Brien is joined by Tufts University professor Sung-Yoon Lee, an expert on the international politics of the Korean peninsula. From his testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Hearings on North Korea policy to his essays in major journals, The Guardian called Lee “[a]mong the most insightful and prescient chroniclers.” Anne Sibley O’Brien and Professor Sung-Yoon Lee will look beyond the rhetoric of war and speak about the Korean Peninsula’s struggles and stories.

About the presenters:

Sung-Yoon Lee, Ph.D.

Sung-Yoon Lee is Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies and Assistant Professor at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Mr. Lee is Associate in Research at the Korea Institute, Harvard University, and a former Research Fellow of the inaugural National Asia Research Program, a joint initiative by the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Dr. Lee’s essays on the international politics of the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia have been published multiple times in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Christian Science Monitor,, Asia Times, The Weekly Standard, etc. His most recent publication is “Getting Tough on North Korea: How to Hit Pyongyang Where It Hurts,” in the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs.

Dr. Lee has testified as an expert witness at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Hearings on North Korea policy and has advised senior officials and elected leaders in the U.S., including the President of the United States. In April 2013, The Guardian called Lee “[a]mong the most insightful and prescient chroniclers.”

Anne Sibley O’Brien

Anne Sibley O’Brien was raised bilingual and bi-cultural in Seoul, Daegu, and Geoje Island, South Korea, as the daughter of medical missionaries. She attended Mount Holyoke College where she majored in Studio Art, and spent her junior year abroad at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, studying Korean Arts.

She has written and/or illustrated thirty-five picture books, including a graphic novel retelling of The Legend of Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of Korea (Charlesbridge), which won the Global Korea Award, the Aesop Award, and the Asian-Pacific American Award for Literature, and was named to Booklist’s “Top Ten Graphic Novels for Youth 2007.”

As an illustrator, she has enjoyed portraying Korean characters, including Brianna (based on her daughter, Yunhee) in Jamaica & Brianna (HMH) and other titles by Juanita Havill; Sara Mee and her family in What Will You Be, Sara Mee? (Charlesbridge) by Kate Aver Avraham; the protagonist of A Special Day (Bebop Books/Lee & Low); and Jin in I’m New Here. In 2014, she received the Katahdin Award for lifetime achievement from the Maine Library Association. In the Shadow of the Sun (Scholastic) is her first novel.

She has taught beginning Korean at the Korean Language School of Maine, served as the Creative Writing teacher at Camp Sejong Korean cultural camp, and been a featured speaker at the Korea Studies Program, University of Massachusetts Lowell, and at several regional teachers’ conferences of the National Association of Korean Schools, as well as at various events in South Korea. She is a frequent speaker in classrooms across the country and in international schools around the world. She makes her home on Peaks Island in Maine.