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‘Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea’ by Guy Delisle

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea
(Photo by Jason Garber)

A guest book review by Linda Simensky, PBS’s senior director of children’s programming:

North Korea has been in the news lately. So where do this country and animation intersect? You probably didn’t know there is (or at least was) at least one animation studio there. For an interesting look at North Korea through the eyes of an animator who worked there, check out the graphic novel, Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle (originally published in French in 2003; English version published by Drawn and Quarterly in 2005)

Delisle, a French Canadian cartoonist, was sent by a French animation studio to be an overseas supervisor at Scientific and Educational Film Studio of Korea (SEK) in Pyongyang. In this graphic novel, he writes about his experiences there, both in animation and in his attempts to see North Korea outside the studio.

He has written graphic novels about being an overseas supervisor in Shenzhen and about his time in Burma while his wife was stationed there for Doctors Without Borders. Delisle’s a great artist, and his experiences as an overseas supervisor will seem familiar to many of you. But his insider’s take on Pyongyang is fascinating, and well worth reading in light of current events.

The book is available on Amazon.