The manuscript was yellowing, frayed – so fragile, in fact, that Do Hee-yun thought it might crumble in his hands.

This was a hallowed text for a human rights lawyer. Hidden inside a copy of “The Selected Works of Kim Il-Sung,” these loose sheaves of paper represented the first complete collection of dissident literature to be successfully smuggled out of North Korea. 

Comprising seven short stories and over fifty poems, the manuscript provided a nuanced, if plaintive, insight into the interior lives of ordinary North Koreans.

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