Art Works Blog

Art Works Podcast: Adam Johnson

This week's podcast is a conversation with the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Adam Johnson. We're proud to say that Johnson is an old friend: he was awarded an NEA Literature Fellowship in 2010. Since we were already familiar with his work, we weren't surprised to learn that Johnson had been awarded the Pulitzer for The Orphan Master's Son, his virtuosic re-imagining of life in North KoreaIn the novel, Johnson paints a vivid picture of a state where every aspect of a person's life is tightly controlled, and where everyone follows a central story as dictated by the Supreme Leader. Throughout the book, we follow Jun Do, an orphan whose own biography is interwoven with the official North Korean narrative. He's a model citizen until he begins to realize a life outside the one assigned to him. Although a work of fiction, The Orphan Master’s Son opens the door to the closed world of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea---the DPKR---under the dictatorship of Kim Jong-il.

Excerpts from "Some Are More Equal" from the album, Oil, composed and performed by Hans Teuber and Paul Rucker. Available for download at


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