Biography of Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park is a beloved and award-winning children’s novelist and poet.

Park’s parents immigrated from Korea and she was born and raised in Illinois. Of her childhood, she said, “My dad was determined to have an American life, so I grew up feeling completely American. I did visit Korea, though, when I was about 11. It didn't leave much of an impression on me at the time, but now my travels help me set the scene for my books.” She was a self-described “maniacal” reader as a child, a fan of nearly every genre.

Park began publishing her poems in periodicals when she was in elementary school (her first was when she was nine years old!), continuing to do so in high school. At Stanford University she earned a degree in English, then went to work as a public-relations writer for a major oil company.

In 1983, Park left her job and moved to Dublin. There, she studied literature and then moved to London. She married Irish journalist Ben Dobbin and had two children, all the while working as a teacher of English-as-a-second-language to college students. During this time she also earned a master’s degree from Birkbeck College in 1988.

In 1990, Park and her husband returned to the United States. Seven years later she realized she wanted to try her hand at writing books for children, so she began re-telling Korean folktales and worked on her first novel, Seesaw Girl, eventually published in 1999.

Over the last several decades, Park has written numerous novels, including A Single Shard, which won the 2002 Newbery Medal. Many of the novels explore Korean history and culture, and, as Dinah Stevenson writes, “doing the research for her books made Linda Sue ‘feel Korean.’ She began to see aspects of her upbringing — the emphasis on schooling, for example — in the context of Korean tradition. ‘Suddenly a whole bunch of my childhood made sense. I was illuminating my own past.’”

Park also writes poetry and has published several picture books. She and her family currently live in Rochester, New York.

Study Guides on Works by Linda Sue Park

Famed children’s author Linda Sue Park published A Long Walk to Water in 2010. Based on the true story of Salva Dut, a Sudanese “Lost Boy,” it interweaves the tales of Dut with those of a fictional young girl named Nya. Dut’s story takes place in...

A Single Shard was published in 2001 and was written by Linda Sue Park. It is a novel that is set in ancient Korea, and that tells the story of a young boy named Tree-ear, who is an orphan. He sees a potter and wants to learn how to make pottery,...