Jeong Yu-jeong, born in 1966 in Hampyeong, in the South Korean province of Jeollanam-do, first trained to be a nurse. She worked in a hospital for five years and then as an expert at the state health insurance agency for nine years before she began to write.
After she spent six years applying to competitions without success, she finally won the Segye Youth Literary Award for her young adult novel »Nae insaeng-ui spring camp« (2007; tr: My Life’s Spring Camp). With »Shoot Me in the Heart« (2009) she finally found her breakthrough. The novel is a pastiche of South Korean society, in which it resembles a psychiatric clinic, and tells the story of two young men who want to escape it. Jeong Yu-jeong also reflects on her own experiences and how a person can often only get through difficult life situations by dreaming of fleeing. Her own dream of freedom was fulfilled after completing her novel »28«, when she took a hiking trip through the Himalayas and climbed the Annapurna. She describes her impressions in her book »Jeong Yu-jeongs Himalaya Hwansangbanghwang« (2014; tr: Fantastic Wandering in the Himalayas). With »Chilnyeonui bam« (2011; tr: Seven Years of Night) she finally became a bestselling author. The plot begins with a man who was once a successful baseball player but has fallen prey to alcohol, works for a security firm and is scorned by his wife. A promotion to head of security at a remote dam seems to him to be an escape at that moment. But there, a catastrophe unfolds. Like in a Greek tragedy, he becomes a »reservoir monster«, murders a girl, and opens the floodgates to the lake, after which the mass of water buries a town and kills half of its inhabitants. His eleven-year-old son must hide from then on, but no matter where he goes in the next seven years, he is confronted with the dramatic events by newspaper headlines and identified as the son of the »reservoir monster«. He finally finds peace in a remote coastal town, until all kinds of strange things appear and force him to uncover the truth behind the events.
Jeong Yu-jeong has been called »Korea’s Stephen King«. Her novels are psychologically refined and mercilessly reveal the repressed dark side of humans. On account of their drastic, realistic style of narration, Jeong Yu-jeong’s novels are popular in Korea as raw material for films. »Shoot Me in the Heart« premiered in theaters in 2015, »Chilnyeonui bam« in 2018, and her most recent work »Jong-ui Giwon« (2016; Eng. »The Good Son«, 2018) is scheduled for film adaptation. The author lives in Gwangju, Korea