Hwang Sok-yong was born in Changchun, China, in January 1943.
In 1993, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for an unauthorised trip to North Korea to promote artistic exchange between the two Koreas. He was released five years later on a special pardon by the new president. He has been shortlisted for the Prix Femina Étranger and was awarded the Émile Guimet Prize for Asian Literature for At Dusk. His novels and short stories are published in North and South Korea, Japan, China, France, Germany, and the United States. He lives in Seoul, South Korea.