The Korea Herald


Ilyon Woo's nonfiction lands on NYT's 10 best books of 2023

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : Nov. 30, 2023 - 17:41

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"Master Slave Husband Wife" by Ilyon Woo (Simon & Schuster)

Korean American author Ilyon Woo’s nonfiction work has been recognized as one of the New York Times' 10 Best Books of 2023.

“Deeply, deeply honored for this recognition from the (New York Times), on the eve of the 175th anniversary of Ellen and William Craft’s heroic escape from slavery,” Woo wrote on her Instagram.

"Master Slave Husband Wife" follows the true story of Ellen and William Craft, an enslaved couple in Georgia. In 1848, the couple made a daring escape across more than 1,600 kilometers, riding out in the open on steamboats, carriages and trains that took them from bondage in Georgia to the free states of the North. Ellen disguised herself as a disabled White man with William posing as “his” slave.

Despite numerous close calls and dodging determined slave catchers, the Crafts succeeded in their flight, going on to tour the abolitionist speaker circuit in England and to write a popular account of their journey.

Woo holds a Bachelor of Arts in the Humanities from Yale College and a Ph.D. in English from Columbia University.

Her previous book "The Great Divorce" (2010) tells the story of early America's most infamous divorce case, delivering the first full account of Eunice Chapman’s epic five-year struggle.