Maija Rhee Devine

Maija Rhee Devine, Writing for Peace Adviser

Maija Rhee Devine
Author, Poet, Speaker

I feel extremely honored to join this distinguished group of writers dedicated to writing for peace–peace for groups of all sizes from preschools to countries, for men and women, and for every individual on earth, and peace of all colors, shapes, and levels of meaning.  I can’t think of any cause that is more noble and difficult to carry out.  But we must try.  The motto adopted by Special Olympics, “Let me win.  But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt” sounds appropriate for writers writing for peace, but how about if we kept only the first part–”Let me win”?

~ Maija Rhee Devine

Maija Rhee Devine is the author of The Voices of Heaven, a powerful love story set during the Korean War. The novel flows from her first-hand experience of growing up in Seoul during the war and its aftermath, and was recognized as a finalist “USA Best Book Awards.”

Devine’s poetry chapbook, Long Walks on Short Days, explores her travels through Korea, China, U.S. and other lands she has known.

Maija Rhee Devine travels the world to speak about her experiences during and after the Korean War, the cultural discrimination against women that led to Korean comfort women and sex-selective abortion, writing, and other topics important to her.

Devine’s fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Boulevard, North American Review, and The Kenyon Review, and in various anthologies, holds a B.A. in English from Sogang University in Seoul and an M.A. in English from St. Louis University.  Writing honors include an NEA grant and nominations to Pushcart Prize and O. Henry Awards.

The author and her husband, Michael J. Devine, the director of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, often travel to Korea, where she works on her new project, Journals of Comfort Women, a novel about Korean comfort women who were forced to provide sexual services to Japanese soldiers during WWII.

Maija book coverThe Voices of Heaven, a novel/love story and family struggles set during the Korean War, flows from first-hand experience of growing up in Seoul during the war and its aftermath.  The story reveals the realities of both the old and new Korea as the Confucian values that rule the characters still shape the lives of people in North and South Korea.  The novel is available from Seoul Selection Publishing ( and

  Bronze Medal, 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award, Best Adult Fiction E-Book Category: (Scroll down to a Gold Medalist, “A History of Stone & Steel.”  The Voices of Heaven is listed in that group.)

Long Walk on Short Days, by Maija Rhee DevineLong Walks on Short Days, her poetry chapbook about Korea, China, U.S. and other lands she has known is available on


2013 Chautauqua Institution judges panel about Long Walks on Short Days:

 “Devine writes beautifully about a culture/society not often portrayed in mainstream   fiction.  Her characters are well-drawn and her depiction of the importance of “tradition” in Korean life rings true.”

“A fresh and unique story”

“A masterpiece of historic fiction.”


 Finalist, ForeWord Reviews 2014 Book of The Year Award Finalist in Historical (Adult Fiction.)

Related Links

TedxSinchon – Maija Rhee Devine speaks in Seoul about the Confucian-based cultural preference that led to sex-selective abortion – A message that ‘turns over’ our perception of sexuality. TEDxSinchon

The “America and Me” video, a Korean War oral history program by the American Embassy in Seoul, includes an interview with Maija Rhee Devine:

What does Year of the Horse tell the unborn?

In novel, Lee’s Summit woman reveals cultural shame endured by daughter and mom:

Interview by Mark DePue, oral historian, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL, Aug. 2013.,Maija.aspx

Writing For Peace Posts

A Korean War story, “My Brother and General MacArthur,” by Maija Rhee Devine published in Korea Times, 7/27/2013:

Maija Rhee Devine’s poem, My Brother’s Computer, appeared during our February 2013 commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Poets Against the War. You can find her beautiful poem in both its original Korean and in its English translation here: PAW Post No. 24

This Is Where I’ll Die – Translated from Korean into English by Writing for Peace Adviser, Maija Rhee Devine. The story of Lee Yong-nyeo, a former Korean comfort woman, Testimonials of Korean Comfort Women, Vol. 1  (Han-wool, Seoul, Korea, 1993) (Interviewer: Koh Hye-jung).

Like Taking Off Boots, a poem about Korean comfort women by Maija Rhee Devine

Maija Rhee Devine Visits Fort Collins High School 


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