Yi Mun-Yol was born in 1948. During the Korean War (1950-3), his father supported the North Korea side for ideological reasons and went to live in the North, leaving his family in the South. In his youth, Yi Mun-Yol had to bear the stigma of being a 'traitor's son'. With more than 30 books published and sales totalling many millions of copies, Yi Mun-Yol is Korea's leading novelist. The Poet, his most signficant novel, has been translated into all the major western languages.