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portrait of Choi Young-Mi

Choi Young-Mi

Choi Young-Mi is a poet and novelist from the Republic of Korea, widely known for her poetry collection called At Thirty, the Party was Over (서른, 잔치는 끝났다)” and is one of the defining figures who ignited the #MeToo movement in Korea.

Born in Seoul, Korea in 1961. She received her B.A. in Western History from Seoul National University and an M.A. in Art History from Hong-ik University. Faced with the military dictatorship of 1980's, she participated in student protest demanding for democracy. As a result, she was detained at police station for 10 days and was suspended from university for a year. 

Choi Young-mi was one of a secretive group of translators who dared to translate Karl Marx's Capital for the first time after Korean War; this translation was published under a single pseudonym in 1987 

Her first volume of poems At Thirty, the Party was Over (1994) came across as a shock to the literary world and to the Korean society thanks to her delicate but bold expressions, lively metaphor, and the piercing satire on capital and authority.“At Thirty, the Party was Over ” has sold over half a million copies. The poem 'In Sun-un Temple' received love from nationwide and is included in high school textbooks and was sung by many different singers.

She is the author of six poetry collections: Treading on The Pedals of Dreams (1998), To The Pigs (2005), Life that has yet to Arrive (2009), Things Already Hot (2013) and What will not come again (2019) which includes the poem “Monster” and other #Metoo poems. 

She received the Isu Literary Award for To the Pigs in 2006, and her fifth volume of poems Things Already Hot was selected as Book Culture Foundation's Literary Book of Excellence in 2013. 

Choi Young-Mi has experience in teaching creative writing in poetry at Inha University and Kangwon National University. In 2011, Choi was appointed as an honorary ambassador for the Korean National Assembly Library and was active as a member of board in Korea Football Association's Football Love Sharing Foundation from 2012 to 2013. 

In 2017, the editor of a magazine requested Choi Young-Mi to write poems on feminism and gender struggle. By accepting this request, she wrote the poem 'Monster' (괴물) that exposed the sexual harassment and abuse by the old poet En. When this poem was released, the public immediately noticed that 'En' is Ko (the most revered Korean poet), which ignited the Korean #Me Too movement. 

Choi Young-Mi's revelation of Ko's molestation has played a major role in exposing the sexual harassments and assaults infested deep inside the Korean society, not only in the cultural and arts community, and her contributions will help eradicate any further offenders. For this contribution, the Metropolitan City of Seoul has decided to present Choi Young-Mi with the grand prize of Sex Equality Award 2018. 

Poet Ko sued her for defamation in summer 2018, but he has lost the case against poet Choi Young-Mi. The Seoul Central District Court (Feb. 15, 2019) sided with Choi saying her allegations of sexual harassment were credible. The court said her testimony was "consistent and specific," while there was "little reason to doubt the veracity of her claims." 

Poems by Choi Young-Mi