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A finalist for the prestigious August Prize, All Monsters Must Die is the story of North Korea, past and present, offering a rare and fascinating window into the most isolated country in the world. In 1948, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is founded by General Kim Il-sung. In 1978, North Korea celebrates the 30th anniversary of its founding, and Kim Jong-il, who at the time is the head of the Propaganda and Agitation Department, orders the kidnapping of the greatest South Korean movie star, the actress Madame Choi, and her ex-husband, the famous film director Shin Sang-ok.
In 2008, North Korea celebrates its 60th anniversary, and authors Magnus Bärtås and Fredrik Ekman take a bizarre, heavily guided tour to the world’s most isolated country. Bärtås and Ekman weave together these three stories to create a mosaic of North Korea, past and present: from the Japanese occupation to the demarcation of the border at the 38th parallel and the Korean War, the development of North Korean Juche ideology, the establishment of the Kim dynasty’s cult of personality, and the aggressive manufacturing of political propaganda, which motivated the kidnapping of South Korea’s most famous film couple.
Magnus Bärtås teaches at the University College of Arts and Crafts in Stockholm and has also published an anthology about the borderland between literature and the visual arts. He is also a filmmaker, photographer, and visual artist living in Stockholm, Sweden.
Fredrik Ekman is a writer, librettist, and editor based in Stockholm, Sweden. His musical works have toured across Europe. He also co-produces music and musical radio dramas.
Saskia Vogel is a Swedish translator. Her translations include Kim Novak Never Swam in Lake Genesaret by Håkan Nesser (World Editions, 2015) and Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? By Katrine Kielos (Portobello Books, 2015). She is also the Swedish series editor and translator for Readux Books and a former publicist at Granta Books. She lives in California.