Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 in Wisconsin (2024-2025)

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 in Wisconsin

During the 2024-2025 Great World Texts in Wisconsin program, high school teachers and students throughout the state will read Cho Nam-joo’s Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982. The novel follows one woman’s psychic deterioration in the face of rampant misogyny. In a tidy apartment on the outskirts of Seoul, millennial “everywoman” Kim Jiyoung spends her days caring for her infant daughter. But strange symptoms appear: Jiyoung begins to impersonate the voices of other women, dead and alive. As she plunges deeper into this psychosis, her concerned husband sends her to a psychiatrist. Jiyoung narrates her story to this doctor—from her birth to parents who expected a son to elementary school teachers who policed girls’ outfits to male coworkers who installed hidden cameras in women’s restrooms. But can her psychiatrist cure her, or even discover what truly ails her? “A social treatise as well as a work of art” (Alexandra Alter, New York Times), Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 heralds the arrival of international powerhouse Cho Nam-joo.

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About the Author

Cho Nam-joo is a former television scriptwriter. In the writing of this book, she drew partly on her own experience as a woman who quit her job to stay at home after giving birth to a child. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 is her third novel. It has had a profound impact on gender inequality and discrimination in Korean society and has been translated into 18 languages.

Teaching Guide and Resources

Teachers participating in Great World Texts will receive a curricular guide for Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 and a classroom set of texts for their school’s permanent collection. The curriculum guide contains contextual and lecture materials, suggested readings, close reading and discussion activities, handouts, and suggestions for student projects. This curricular guide is designed to make the text accessible for a range of learners and grade levels and is customizable to meet the needs of a wide range of classrooms and students.

Participating teachers from across the state of Wisconsin also attend a virtual educator colloquium, to be held on Monday, August 19, 2024, which will feature lectures by campus faculty, guidelines for the conference, and community building exercises between educators.

Educators will bring their students to UW-Madison for a full-day conference on Tuesday, April 15, 2025, where students will present projects created in response to the novel, engage with other students from across the state, and meet author Cho Nam-joo in person. All participating educators received a stipend to fund their school’s participation in Great World Texts. These funds are most often used to offset the costs of substitute teachers and travel to Madison for the student conference.

Support for Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 in Wisconsin

Cho Nam-joo’s visit to UW-Madison and Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 in Wisconsin are supported by the UW-Madison Libraries; the Cleary-Kumm Foundation; the Evjue Foundation; the Wisconsin Book Festival; the Anonymous Fund of the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and the Brittingham Wisconsin Trust.