London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

LKL book database logo

Black Girl from Pyongyang

Publisher: , 2023
Link to online store *

In 1979, aged only seven, Monica Macias was transplanted from West Africa to the unfamiliar surroundings of North Korea. She was sent by her father Francisco, the first president of post-Independence Equatorial Guinea, to be educated under the guardianship of his ally, Kim Il Sung.

Within months, her father was executed in a military coup; her mother became unreachable. Effectively orphaned, she and two siblings had to make their life in Pyongyang. At military boarding school, Monica learned to mix with older children, speak fluent Korean and handle weapons on training exercises.

After university, she went in search of her roots, passing through Beijing, Seoul, Madrid, Guinea, New York and finally London – forced at every step to reckon with damning perceptions of her adoptive homeland. Optimistic yet unflinching, Monica’s astonishing and unique story challenges us to see the world through different eyes.

Source: publisher’s website

LKL says:

Fascinating personal account of an African who grew up in Pyongyang under the protection of Kim Il Sung and then subsequently returned to the West (Spain, Equatorial Guinea, USA, UK) once she finished her education. Yes, it’s interesting for its description of Pyongyang life, but more interesting for the author’s subsequent experiences as she tries to come to terms with life outside the Pyongyang bubble and to understand her father’s political career.

LKL rating: score-2score-2score-2score-2score-1

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.