Min, Katherine 1959(?)-

views updated

Min, Katherine 1959(?)-

PERSONAL: Born c. 1959, in Champaign, IL (one source says Urbana, IL); married; children. Education: Amherst College, B.A.; Columbia University, M.A.


CAREER: Writer and educator. Plymouth State University, Graduate Studies Division, Plymouth, NH, adjunct faculty, writer-in-residence, and diversity scholar. Also teaches at the Iowa Writing Festival.

AWARDS, HONORS: Pushcart Prize, for short story “Courting a Monk”; National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1992; MacDowell Colony fellowship, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001; New Hampshire State Council on the Arts fellowship, 1995; Wallace-Reader’s Digest fellow; Tennessee Williams scholar.


Secondhand World: A Novel, Knopf (New York, NY), 2006.

Short stories have been anthologized in the The Pushcart Book of Stories: The Best Short Stories from a Quarter-Century of the Pushcart Prize, and featured on National Public Radio; stories have also appeared in periodicals, including TriQuarterly, Ploughshares, Threepenny Review, and Prairie Schooner.

SIDELIGHTS: In her first book, Secondhand World: A Novel, Katherine Min draws on her own family’s background as immigrants from Korea to tell the story of Isadora Myung Hee Sohn, or Isa, a young Korean-American caught between the traditional world of her Korean parents and an American world that seems little interested in traditions of any kind. Living in New York near Schenectady, Isa is thrown into turmoil when her brother is killed in an accident, leading her parents to honor the dead in a traditional Korean way that makes Isa suspect that they care more for him in death than her in life. When she becomes enamored of an albino boy named Hero and travels with him to California, she leaves behind family and Korean ways. Nevertheless, when Isa suspects that her mother is having an affair, she is drawn back into the world of Korean tradition.

“Min poignantly captures the dilemma of second-generation Americans . . . but she also tells of a quest for self-discovery, which is universal,” wrote Pat Bangs of Secondhand World in a review in the School Library Journal. Referring to Min’s debut novel as “lovely,” a Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that the author “evokes period and place as well as characters with stringent attention and honesty.” Shirley N. Quan, writing in the Library Journal, commented: “Touching and bittersweet, this novel is filled with universal themes.”



America’s Intelligence Wire, Nov 15, 2006, Shirley Chen, review of Secondhand World: A Novel.

Entertainment Weekly, October 6, 2006, Allyssa Lee, review of Secondhand World, p. 74.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2006, review of Secondhand World, p. 596.

Library Journal, June 1, 2006, Shirley N. Quan, review of Secondhand World, p. 109.

Los Angeles Times, November 26, 2006, Deborah Vankin, review of Secondhand World.

School Library Journal, October, 2006, Pat Bangs, review of Secondhand World, p. 188.


Katherine Min Home Page, http://www.katherinemin.com (January 22, 2007).

New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Web site, http://www.nh.gov/nharts/ (January 22, 2007), profile of author.

You Are Here/Redbook Web site, http://youarehere.redbook.ivillage.com/time/ (January 22, 2007), “Book Club: Katherine Min,” interview with author.*