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Adam Johnson
Adam Johnson


NYS Writers Institute, February 14, 2012
8:00 p.m. Reading | Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus



Adam Johnson, award-winning author, will present his new novel about North Korea, The Orphan Master’s Son (2012), which Oprah’s O. Magazine called, “ambitious, violent, audacious—and stunningly good,” on Tuesday, February 14, 2012, at 8:00 p.m. in the Assembly Hall, Campus Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that day at 4:15 p.m., the author will present an informal seminar in the same location. The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, and are free and open to the public.

"All my perceived flaws that I have been criticized for all my life. . . be a day dreamer, a rubber necker, an exaggerator, a liar and I was all of those things . . ." (1:47)

The Orphan Master's SonAdam Johnson
is the author most recently of The Orphan Master’s Son (2012), a brilliant and imaginative novel about North Korea that is currently receiving critical raves in the American and British press. Johnson vividly evokes North Korea’s economic misery and routine corruption—its prison camps, orphanages, infiltration tunnels, factories, fishing vessels, and farm collectives—as well as the lifestyles of its privileged bureaucrats, propagandists, foreign ambassadors, paranoid generals, and peculiar cultural icons.

David Ignatius of the Washington Post said, “A great novel can take implausible fact and turn it into entirely believable fiction. That’s the genius of The Orphan Master’s Son. Adam Johnson has taken the papier-mâché creation that is North Korea and turned it into a real and riveting place that readers will find unforgettable. This is a novel worth getting excited about, one which more than delivers on its pre-publication buzz.” Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times said, Mr. Johnson has written a daring and remarkable novel, a novel that not only opens a frightening window on the mysterious kingdom of North Korea, but one that also excavates the very meaning of love and sacrifice.”

Adam JohnsonThe Wall St. Journal’s Sam Sacks said, “Mr. Johnson is a wonderfully flexible writer who can pivot in a matter of lines from absurdity to atrocity,” and said, “We don’t know what’s really going on in that strange place [North Korea], but a disquieting glimpse suggesting what it must be like can be found in this brilliant and timely novel.” Salon’s Laura Miller said, “It’s clear that Johnson spent years on the research for this novel—which extended to a trip to North Korea itself—and this shows in the fine texture of his observation. But the real marvel of The Orphan Master’s Son is its imaginative depth and breadth, something that absolutely can’t be faked.” The Orphan Master’s Son was named a January 2012 Best Book of the Month by Amazon.com.

Johnson’s earlier fiction includes the story collection, Emporium (2002), named “Debut of the Year” by Amazon.com, and the novel, Parasites Like Us (2003), winner of the California Book Award and a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers series. A creative writing professor at Stanford University, Johnson is a past recipient of the Stegner Fellowship and Whiting Writers’ Award. He is also the founder of the Stanford Graphic Novel Project, a for-credit student collaborative that tackles world issues through the medium of the graphic novel. He was named one of the nation’s most innovative college professors by Playboy magazine in October 2010.

Previous Visit: October 23, 2003

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.