Bora Chung was born in 1976 in Seoul, South Korea. She embarked on her academic journey at Yonsei University, Seoul, earning a B.A. in Russian Literature and English Literature in 2000. She further expanded her knowledge at Yale University, achieving a M.A. in Russian and East European Studies in 2002. Her intellectual odyssey continued at Indiana University, where she completed her Ph.D. in Slavic Literatures in 2009. Her dissertation, »Changing the Shape of Existence: Utopia in Andrei Platonov’s ›Chevengur‹ and Bruno Jasieński’s ›I Burn Paris‹« exemplified her deep engagement with Slavic literature.
With her strong background in Russian and East European studies, Chung carved a unique niche for herself in the literary world. Her works infuse Polish and Russian literature’s intricate elements with her distinct voice, often revolving around existential themes. Her debut »Cursed Bunny«, translated by Anton Hur, emerged as an extraordinary blend of dark humor and grotesque realism. The work, shortlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2022, presents life’s harsh realities through dialogue-rich prose filled with colloquial phrases and unexpected neologisms. An example of her signature style, » The Embodiment« (published in » Cured Bunny«), showcases her adeptness in exploring existential themes with grim humor.
Her most recent publication, »Semilla« marks another milestone in her prolific career. This work once again underscored her ability to weave intricate narratives around profound existential questions. The renowned critic John Freeman observed, »Chung’s prose glimmers with a dark brilliance, her narrative illuminates the strangeness of the world and the strangeness within us.«
Apart from her creative writing, Chung has contributed significantly to academic discourse. Her scholarly work, »The Writer as Translator in Andrei Bitov’s ›The Teacher of Symmetry‹« appeared in the »Slavic and East European Journal« in 2019, reflecting her analytical rigor.
Despite the critical acclaim, Chung remains modest about her literary achievements. She once commented, »I see myself as a conduit, a mediator between different cultures and literature.«
The author lives in Pohang, South Korea.