Black Girl from Pyongyang

In Search of My Identity

Monica Macias author


Publisher:Duckworth Books

Published:18th Jan '24


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Black Girl from Pyongyang cover

The extraordinary true story of a West African girl’s upbringing in North Korea under the guardianship of President Kim Il Sung.

In 1979, aged only seven, Monica Macias was sent from West Africa to the unfamiliar surroundings of North Korea by her father, the President of Equatorial Guinea, to be educated under the guardianship of his ally, Kim Il Sung.

Within months, her father was executed in a military coup; her mother became unreachable. Effectively orphaned, she and two siblings had to make their life in Pyongyang. At military boarding school, Monica learned to mix with older children, speak fluent Korean and handle weapons on training exercises.

Reaching adulthood, she went in search of her roots. Spending time in Madrid, Malabo, New York, Seoul and finally London, at every step she had to reckon with others' perceptions of her adoptive homeland. Optimistic yet unflinching, Monica’s astonishing and unique story challenges us to see the world through different eyes.

'A fascinating glimpse into life in North Korea’ New Statesman

‘Monica's is an evocative memoir of a remarkable childhood followed by a decades-long search around the globe for her identity and the truth about her father. But beyond that, it is a stunning treatise on politics, power and culture' Florence Olajide, bestselling author of Coconut

'A fascinating account of a woman’s quest for autonomy, and her bravery and determination to find the truth. It’s an investigative story to understand her true father, a powerful but controversial figure, the real man behind his many personas. A woman who was raised between countries, in search of her true home' Lily Dunn, author of Sins of My Father

‘A testament to the power of survival, and the strength it takes to interrogate the world you're born into, Black Girl from Pyongyang is a beautiful and startling coming of age story’ Ali Millar, author of The Last Days

‘Monica Macias challenges readers in her remarkable memoir to interrogate the modalities of truth in our modern world, to closely examine and dismantle what we think we know and what the powers that be would have us believe. Hers is a weighty inheritance, one that she explores with grace, compassion, and enormous courage’ Ly Tran, author of House of Sticks

‘With intimate knowledge through some of the world’s least-known places, Monica Macias leads us on an extraordinary journey. Her perspective as an African, Asian and European woman is absolutely singular as she searches for home, for her history and for her own identity. Her story is told with clear-eyed honesty and self-reflection, as she seeks to better understand herself, the circumstances of her birth and upbringing, and the world she travels around so bravely. You have never read a book like Black Girl From Pyongyang, and you won’t soon forget it’ Marcia de Sanctis, author of A Hard Place to Leave

'Black Girl from Pyongyang tells a heart-warming story of conflicting emotions. A delight to read' Dr J. E. Hoare, Centre of Korean Studies, SOAS

ISBN: 9780715655177

Dimensions: unknown

Weight: unknown

304 pages