North Korea is unlike any other nation today. Its citizens are sealed off from the world and only allowed access to state-run propaganda, and its volatile leader Kim Jong-un is considered a threat to world peace. But can an international crisis be averted? And amid the headlines, have we forgotten the plight of the North Korean people themselves? Political science professor Robert E. Kelly, Korean-American author Min Jin Lee, Korea author Michael Pembroke and filmmaker and writer Anna Broinowski discuss the isolated nation with Linda Jaivin.

Supported by UNSW Arts & Social Sciences.

Anna Broinowski (Australian)

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Anna Broinowski is a filmmaker and author who documents the illicit, subversive and bizzarre. Her films include Pauline Hanson: Please Explain, Aim High in Creation!, Forbidden Lie$, and Helen’s War. She is the recipent of three AFI/AACTAs. Anna’s book about North Korea's propaganda filmmakers, The Director is the Commander, was shortlisted for a Dobbie and won the NIB Alex Buzo shortlist prize. Her latest book is Please Explain: The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Pauline Hanson.

Robert E. Kelly (International)

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Robert E. Kelly lives in South Korea, where he is a professor in the Department of Political Science and Diplomacy at Pusan National University. He holds a PhD in international relations from Ohio State University. Dr. Kelly comments frequently on North Korea and U.S. foreign policy for outlets including the BBC, CNN, The New York Times, and Foreign Affairs. He briefly became famous as “BBC Dad” when, in March 2017, his children interrupted him live on BBC News.

Michael Pembroke (Australian)

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Michael Pembroke is a writer, historian, naturalist and author. His book Arthur Phillip: Sailor, Mercenary, Governor, Spy became a television documentary and was short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and runner-up in the National Maritime Museum history award. The research for Pembroke’s latest book, Korea, has taken him to Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, Washington DC, Princeton and Cambridge. In 2016, he travelled through North Korea from the Yalu River to the Demilitarised Zone. He has been a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales since 2010.

Min Jin Lee (International)

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Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award. A New York Times bestseller, Pachinko was in the Top 10 Books of the Year for The New York Times, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, the BBC, CBC, the New York Public Library and the Chicago Public Library. Pachinko was on more than six dozen best books of the year lists around the world, including NPR, PBS, CNN, History channel, Esquire, Financial Times, Amazon, Financial Review, New Statesman, Chicago Tribune, Whitcoulls 100, and The Irish Times. Min’s debut novel Free Food for Millionaires was in the Top 10 Books of the Year for The Times, NPR’s Fresh Air and USA Today.

Linda Jaivin (Australian)

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Linda Jaivin is the author of eleven books, a literary translator from Chinese specialising in film, and co-editor of the ANU's China Story Yearbook. She is also a prolific essayist, occasional playwright and first-time curator. Her first book, the comic erotic Eat Me, was an international bestseller. Her China memoir The Monkey and the Dragon, and novels A Most Immoral Woman and The Empress Lover all explore aspects of the foreign experience of China.