Kim Chi-won

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Kim Chi-won
Born November 10, 1943
Died January 30, 2013(2013-01-30) (aged 69)
Language Korean
Nationality South Korean
Ethnicity Korean
Citizenship South Korean
Kim Chi-won
Hangul 김지원
Hanja 金知原
Revised Romanization Gim Jiwon
McCune–Reischauer Kim Chiwŏn

Kim Chi-won (Hangul김지원; November 10, 1943 – January 30, 2013) is a South Korean writer.


Kim Chi-won was raised in a literary family. Born in 1943 in the Gyeonggi Province, her mother is Ch'oe Chong-hui, who was one of the most popular female Korean writers in the twentieth century and Kim's sister, Kim Ch'ae-won is also a writer [1] In 1965, Kim Chi-won graduated from Ehwa University and published her first story in 1974. Since the 1970s Kim has lived in New York.[1]


Kim writes primarily about women in failed relationships with husbands (A Certain Beginning in 1974 and Lullaby in 1979).[1] In A Certain Beginning a woman is hopelessly trapped between social expectations of money and relationships. Set in the United States, protagonist Yun-ja agrees to marry Chong-il so that he can get a green card. Left by her first husband and in middle age, Yun-ja hopes that the wedding will actually work out, both because it would be a welcome change and because she yearns for a better apartment. While both Yun-ja and Chong-il seem open to this possibility at first, Chong-il comes to see his arrangement as the purchase of an aging prostitute. Women are portrayed as having only their bodies as assets and although Yun-ja makes a brave statement of independence at the end of the book, it seems an empty statement given her feelings of vulnerability related to her previous marriage, age, and physical condition.[2]

Kim’s story Almaden is similar. A Korean woman in New York is unhappy with her marriage and life. At the liquor store in which she and her husband work, a regular client becomes the focus of her dreams of relationship. She becomes increasingly unhappy with her real life, but when her fantasy lover disappears, she is left back in her initial position, uselessly hoping that some other man will come to rescue her from her plight.[3]

Works in English[edit]

  • "A Certain Beginning" and "Lullaby" (in Words of Farewell Stories by Korean Women Writers)"
  • "Almaden" (in The Future of Silence Fiction By Korean Women)

Works in Korean (Partial)[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Words of Farewell, Bruce Fulton (trans) Seal Press, 1989 p. x
  2. ^ New Voices, Review by Sara Dorow (Fall 1998 issue)
  3. ^ "Almaden" Maria T. Kelsay:

External links[edit]