Kim Heayeon was born in Seoul, Korea. She majored in German literature and after a long period of working for a publishing company,  she became fascinated with children’s books from England, especially the works of Roald Dahl and Philippa Pearce. In 2004, she won the Hans Christian Andersen Award in Korea with A Farewell Gift, and the Golden Goblin Award in 2009 with I’m a Cuckoo.

She has written approximately ten books for children and teenagers, including The Bakery of Coincidence.

Kang Young-sook is a feminist South Korean author. She often writes about the female grotesque, delving into varying genres, such as urban noir, fantasy, and climate fiction. Since her debut in 1998, she has published a number of novels and short story collections, and has received many prestigious awards, such as the Hanguk Ilbo Literature Prize, Kim Yujeong Literary Award, and Lee Hyo-seok Literature Award, among others.

She participated in the International Writing Program’s fall residency at the University of Iowa in 2009, and was also a visiting writer-in-residence at UC Berkeley in 2014. She currently teaches creative writing at Ewha Womans University and Korea National University of Arts.

Katie HaleIn November, UK writer Katie Hale will head to Brussels for a residency at Passa Porta.

Born in Cumbria, Katie’s poetry pamphlet, Breaking the Surface, was published by Flipped Eye in 2017. She recently won the Buzzwords Poetry Prize, the Jane Martin Poetry Prize and the Ware Poetry Prize.During her residency Katie will be working on a collection of poetry that explores the ways in which our identity is shaped by those who come before us. Her debut novel, My Name is Monster, is due from Canongate in June 2019.

The Passa Porta exchange will continue in April 2020, when Flemish writer Els Beerten will spend a month at Dragon Hall in Norwich, while UK writer Claudine Toutoungi will head to Brussels to spend a month at Passa Porta.

Els Beerten is one of Belgium’s leading young adult novelists, who is working on a coming-of-age novel about two young Italian boys in the wake of the Second World War. The story is set in Belgium, Italy and England.While in Norwich, Els is keen to interact with the city and its inhabitants. She says: ‘I would like to find out in Norwich what traces the war left in the hands of the coastal inhabitants. In Norwich I would like to spend some time in exchange with the inhabitants of the city and surroundings, listening to the stories.’


Claudine Toutoungi is a playwright and poet. While in Brussels she will be working on her second collection of poetry, The Letters of Mr Caro (Carcanet, 2020). She says: ‘I am keen for the poems to explore varied forms of dislocation – spatial, linguistic, and emotional and to investigate the double takes, confusions and collisions of modern urban life. One hugely appealing aspect of a stay in Brussels is the opportunity to absorb the atmosphere of a highly cultured, multilingual city. I find cities which offer a melting-pot of languages and literary influences incredibly inspiring.’