E.J. Koh with Rich Smith

We are delighted to help launch a totally wonderful new book into the world tonight, as Seattle poet E.J. Koh is here for the release of her extraordinary prose book, The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir (Tin House). This book tells the story of Eun Ji, or E.J.’s, adolescence, left on her own with her young brother, while their parents took on work back in their home country of South Korea. Movingly narrated by the author, but with passages in Korean, and translated, a series of letters from her mother, this is a singular, unforgettable, poetically-charged work. E.J. Koh appears in conversation with Rich Smith, writer for The Stranger.

“In The Magical Language of Others, E.J. Koh writes of the boundary between anonymity and naming, between absence and abandonment, between cruelty and safety for four generations of mothers and daughters, each speaking with an occupied heart and crossing narrative borders between Korea, Japan, and America.  As a reader, you give yourself over to her narrative territory and the resetting of the borders of lineage, language, and lives lost.” —Shawn Wong.

“E.J. Koh’s The Magical Language of Others grapples with intergenerational loss and love between mothers and daughters across time, war, and immigration. Koh’s painful journey is bridged by her mother’s letters, which she translates, unfolding the language of mothering and tenderness. Koh remarkably and beautifully translates the language of mothers as the language of survivors.”  —Don Mee Choi.

E.J. Koh’s debut book of poems, A Lesser Love, is also a marvel.


Can't make it to the event, but still want a signed book? No problem! When you order your copy, just write "signed" in the Order Comments field or "personalized" and the name you want it signed to. If it's a gift, you can also write "gift" and we'll mail you a certificate to give to the lucky recipient to act as a placeholder! Books will be shipped following our event on January 7, 2020. 

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The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir By E. J. Koh Cover Image
ISBN: 9781947793385
Availability: Ships in 2-10 Days
Published: Tin House Books - January 7th, 2020

A Lesser Love: Poems By E. J. Koh Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807167779
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: LSU Press - October 16th, 2017

The Elliott Bay Book Company
1521 Tenth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - 7:00pm
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