Critically Acclaimed Novelist
National Book Foundation 5 Under 25
Travels from: New York, NY

“An immersive, heartbreaking story about war, passion, and the road not taken.” — People

Crystal Hana Kim is the author of If You Leave Me, which was a Booklist Editor’s Choice title, Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and named a best book of 2018 by over a dozen publications. A 2022 recipient of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award, a 2022 Creative Capital Award Finalist, a 2021 Jerome Hill Artist Finalist, and a 2017 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize winner, her work has been published in Elle Magazine, The Paris Review, Glamour Magazine, Guernica, and elsewhere. Her second novel, The Stone Home, was released from William Morrow / HarperCollins in 2024. Crystal is currently the Visiting Assistant Professor at Queens College and a contributing editor at Apogee Journal.

Crystal Hana Kim’s If You Leave Me is an emotionally riveting debut novel about war, family, and love—the unforgettable saga of refugees in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they’re forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that still haunts us today. Described as “stunning” by The Washington Post and “beautifully layered as it is devastating” by Elle MagazineIf You Leave Me examines the history of The Korean War and its ramifications across generations through a multi-voiced, multilayered narrative that traverses five poetic, nuanced narrators who hunger for choice and change in a tumultuous and modernizing Korea.

Crystal's Featured Titles

The Stone Home

William Morrow |
Literary Fiction

“It is a privilege to read Crystal Hana Kim’s fiction, which both edifies and enlightens.” —Min Jin Lee

A hauntingly poetic family drama and coming-of-age story that reveals a dark corner of South Korean history through the eyes of a small community living in a reformatory center—a stunning work of great emotional power from the critically acclaimed author of If You Leave Me.

In 2011, Eunju Oh opens her door to greet a stranger: a young Korean American woman holding a familiar-looking knife—a knife Eunju hasn’t seen in thirty years, and that connects her to a place she’d desperately hoped to leave behind forever.

In South Korea in the 1980s, young Eunju and her mother are homeless on the street. After being captured by the police, they’re sent to live within the walls of a state-sanctioned reformatory center that claims to rehabilitate the nation’s citizens but hides a darker, more violent reality. While Eunju and her mother form a tight-knit community with the other women in the kitchen, two teenage brothers, Sangchul and Youngchul, are compelled to labor in the workshops and make increasingly desperate decisions—and all are forced down a path of survival, the repercussions of which will echo for decades to come.

Inspired by real events, told through alternating timelines and two intimate perspectives, The Stone Home is a deeply affecting story of a mother and daughter’s love and a pair of brothers whose bond is put to an unfathomably difficult test. Capturing a shameful period of history with breathtaking restraint and tenderness, Crystal Hana Kim weaves a lyrical exploration of the legacy of violence and the complicated psychology of power, while showcasing the extraordinary acts of devotion and friendship that can arise in the darkness.

If You Leave Me

William Morrow |

An emotionally riveting debut novel about war, family, and forbidden love—the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they’re forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that still haunts us today.

When the communist-backed army from the north invades her home, sixteen-year-old Haemi Lee, along with her widowed mother and ailing brother, is forced to flee to a refugee camp along the coast. For a few hours each night, she escapes her family’s makeshift home and tragic circumstances with her childhood friend, Kyunghwan.

Focused on finishing school, Kyunghwan doesn’t realize his older and wealthier cousin, Jisoo, has his sights set on the beautiful and spirited Haemi—and is determined to marry her before joining the fight. But as Haemi becomes a wife, then a mother, her decision to forsake the boy she always loved for the security of her family sets off a dramatic saga that will have profound effects for generations to come.

Richly told and deeply moving, If You Leave Me is a stunning portrait of war and refugee life, a passionate and timeless romance, and a heartrending exploration of one woman’s longing for autonomy in a rapidly changing world.


One woman’s longing for autonomy in a rapidly changing world.


Radical Revision


Deepening Characterization on and off the Page


Asian American Identity and the Literature of Displacement


Motherhood in Fiction


Asian American Fiction


Imagination, Research, and Historical Fiction

Crystal’s Recent Work

If You Leave Me – Reading Guide

Crystal’s Upcoming Events

Crystal’s Consulting Services

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Booklist Editor’s Choice
2022 National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award
2017 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize winner

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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