This summer, by accident, I got to spend time with two of the up and coming Korean American writers whose work is most exciting to me, in that category and in the category of writing in general. The first is Nami Mun, who turned up at MacDowell while I was there. The second is Paul Yoon, who I found at Bread Loaf, wearing the key to the liquor closet around his neck on a white string.
He was the social chair.
Both are big talents, writers we’ll be reading for a long time. As of this summer, both hadn’t yet published a book. Nami was putting the finishing touches on her collection at MacDowell, Norton’s Island and then Yaddo. Paul’s book was under submission, he told me, when I met him and asked about it.
I first read Paul Yoon in Best American Short Stories 2006, with Ann Patchett as editor. The story is the first one in the anthology, right there when I opened it. I was shocked when I finished it and saw how young he was—he writes like someone much older and wiser. Paul’s going to be a big deal and so I’m glad to share the news that Sarabande Books, I’ve just been told, has reached an agreement with him to publish his first story collection, Once The Shore. The story from Best American is the title story. Look for it in Spring 2009.
How smart is Sarabande to publish Paul Yoon? Real smart. His title story’s a thing of beauty and compassion. Exactly right that it leads off BASS 2006.
I recently read one of Yoon’s short stories in New American Fiction. It was one of those experiences that made me sigh and go wet-eyed when I finished reading it. Quiet as snowfall and just as impactful– gives me the chills thinking about it now.
Thanks for posting this great great news. We are all so very pleased to have Paul on our list and will give him the full Sarabande treatment. He’s an extraordinary young writer. Special thanks to Robin Lippincott (also a Sarabande author) who gave me a head’s up.
I love Paul Yoon’s stories–as soon as I read them, I knew a book would be imminent. Congrats to him!