Hwang Sok-yong was born in 1943 and is arguably Korea's most renowned author. In 1993, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for an unauthorized trip to the North to promote exchange between artists in North and South Korea. Five years later, he was released on a special pardon by the new president. The recipient of Korea's highest literary prizes and shortlisted for the Prix Femina Etranger, his novels and shorts stories are published in North and South Korea, Japan, China, France, Germany, and the United States. Previous novels include The Ancient Garden, The Story of Mister Han, The Guest, and The Shadow of Arms.