Illustrated Writer—Sok Yun Gi

The Birth of Era (Parts 1 and 2), a novel which had been published in the 1960s in the DPRK, was reprinted in January Juche 109 (2020).

The novel is one of the masterpieces by Sok Yun Gi (October 22, 1929-April 28, 1989).

Sok was widely known among the Korean people as a writer of merit as he wrote many masterpieces by conducting vigorous creative activities with heartfelt sympathy with the stirring reality of the DPRK.

He was born in Talsong County, North Kyongsang Province, during Japanese military occupation of Korea (1905-1945).

After Korea was liberated, he entered Songgyungwan University in Seoul in 1947 and left the institution halfway to work as a journalist of the journal Art Criticism.

In 1948, he turned out in the fight against the traitorous “separate election” of the Syngman Rhee puppet clique in south Korea. He was arrested and experienced all sorts of hardships in prison.

When the Fatherland Liberation War started in June 1950, he joined the Korean People’s Army to fight against the enemies.

As he drove a truck carrying ammunition through hails of bullets during the war, he witnessed the heroic struggle of KPA soldiers and the people who performed world-startling miracles in the decisive battles against the imperialists and realized the truth that the political and ideological strength of the masses of the people firmly united around President Kim Il Sung was the source of strength that brought about the victory in the war.

And he keenly felt a creative impulse to tell the world people and posterity about the heroic Korean people and era.

As he received medical treatment at a hospital for honoured wounded veterans after the three-year-long war, he wrote his first short story Second Answer. He proceeded to produce novelette Soldiers, which gave a truthful portrayal of the noble spiritual world and popular heroism of the KPA soldiers who defended even an inch of the territory of the country at the cost of their lives, at a high artistic level, to draw the attention of the literary circles.

After becoming a professional writer in 1961, he wrote The Birth of Era.

The novel created a sensation among the readers soon after it was published for the substantial content, vivid and profound portrayal, high grade of intelligence and free use of witty words.

In 1970, he created novel Luxuriant Sunflowers that gives an artistic answer to the question on the role of the leader of the working class in the revolutionary struggle, thereby cutting a more conspicuous figure as a talented writer. As he worked at the April 15 Literary Production Company as a writer and its head later, Sok wrote The Arduous MarchOn the Tuman RiverGreen Land and Spring Thunder which belong to the cycle of novels “Immortal History” to set the pace in representing the leader in novel literature.

During his 30-odd-year-long writing career, he also produced scores of short stories, film scripts, notes, essays, political essays, occasional notes, etc.

His colleagues unanimously recalled that he had amazing memory and a wealth of specialized knowledge vast enough to put the experts in the shade.

In the whole period of his career, he delved into special knowledge of every field with burning passion.

His extraordinary memory and painstaking efforts enabled him to acquire wide-ranging knowledge and produce best sellers loved by readers.

Kim Mu Ryop, literature lover and engineer at the Pyongyang Preventive Medicine Factory, said:

“I love Sok Yun Gi’s novels especially as I feel from them the world of infinitive knowledge. Whenever I read his book, I gain a lot of knowledge along with the magnificent plot and the spirit of the times.”

He was honoured with the Order of Kim Il Sung, Kim Il Sung Prize and the title of Labour Hero.

He was a deputy to the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK and chairman of the Central Committee of Writers Union of Korea.

Kim Yong Gwon

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