Bae Suah

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Bae Suah
Born 1965 (age 49–50)
Occupation Author, translator
Language Korean, German
Nationality South Korean
Ethnicity Korean
Genre Fiction
Bae Suah
Hangul 배수아
Revised Romanization Bae Sua
McCune–Reischauer Pae Sua
This is a Korean name; the family name is Bae.

Bae Suah is a South Korean author who was born in 1965.[1]


Bae Suah graduated from Ewha Womans University with a degree in Chemistry. Originally a government employee at Gimpo Airport in Incheon, Bae wrote stories as a hobby.[2] At the time of her debut in 1993, Bae Su-ah (1965~ ) was a government employee working behind the embarkation/disembarkation desk at the Kimpo international airport in Seoul. Without formal instruction or guidance from a literary mentor, Bae wrote stories “as a hobby” while working at the airport; but it wasn’t long before she left her stultifying job to become one of the most daringly unconventional writers to grace the Korean literary establishment in modern years.[3]

She made her debut as a writer with A Dark Room in 1988. Since 2001, Bae has lived in Germany.


Bae Suah, one of Korea’s most innovative writers, has departed from the tradition of mainstream literature and created her own literary world based on a unique style and knack for psychological description.[4]

Bae made her debut as a writer with A Dark Room in 1988. Since then, she has published two anthologies of short fiction, including the novella Highway With Green Apples. She has also published novels, including Rhapsody in Blue.[5] Her work is regarded as unconventional in the extreme, including such unusual topics as men becoming victims of domestic violence by their female spouses (in “Sunday Sukiyaki Restaurant”).[6] characterized by tense-shifting and alterations in perspective. Her most recent works are nearly a-fictional, decrying characterization and plot.[7]

Bae is known for her use of abrupt shifts in tense and perspective, sensitive yet straightforward expressions, and seemingly non sequitur sentences to unsettle and endistance her readers. Bae’s works offer neither the reassurance of moral conventions upheld, nor the consolation of adversities rendered meaningful. Most of her characters harbor traumatic memories from which they may never fully emerge, and their families, shown to be in various stages of disintegration, only add to the sense of loneliness and gloom dominating their lives. A conversation between friends shatters the idealized vision of love; verbal abuse constitutes a family interaction; and masochistic self-loathing fills internal monologues. The author’s own attitude toward the world and the characters she has created is sardonic at best.[8]

Works in Translation[edit]

Nowhere to Be Found (aka Cheolsu) (AmazonCrossing, 2015), Translated into English by Sora Kim-Russell[9]
Time in Gray (ASIA, 2013), Translated into English by Chang Chung-hwa and Andrew James Keast
• "Highway with Green Apples" in the December 18, 2013 edition of "Day One", a digital literary journal by Amazon Publishing[10]

Works in Korean[edit]

• Highway with Green Apples (1995)
• Rhapsody in Blue (1995)
• Cheolsu (1998)
• Ivana (2002)
• Sunday Sukiyaki Restaurant (2003)
• An Essayist's Desk (2003)
• Solitary Scholar (2004)


• Dongseo Literary Prize, 2004
• Hankook Ilbo Literary Prize, 2003


  1. ^ "배수아 " biographical PDF available at:
  2. ^ Korea Literature Translation Institute. Korean Writers: The Novelists p. 12
  3. ^ "배수아 " datasheet available at:
  4. ^ Lee, Kyungjae (Vol.7 Spring 2010). "A Feast of Voices". LIST MAGAZINE, p. 50-2
  5. ^ 12th International Women's Film Festival:
  6. ^ Kim Sung-hwan, Response to the New Century: Overview of Korean Novels in the 2000s. Korea Focus.
  7. ^ Korea Literature Translation Institute. Korean Writers: The Novelists p. 13
  8. ^ Korean Writers The Poets. Minumsa Press. 2005. p. 412. 
  9. ^ goodreads. "Nowhere to be Found". Retrieved 27 Feb 2015. 
  10. ^ The Korea Herald. "Author Bae’s short story published on Amazon’s ‘Day One’ Journal". Retrieved 24 Dec 2013. 

External links[edit]

• Q&A with Suah Bae on British Council: