Arts Interventions Development



"A fine-tuned and human contrast to prevailing narratives about (North Korea)... With acidic irony in all directions, the book rejects caricatures of the country as either Hell or idyll... Lots of food for thought, for those who care to think for themselves." 

"Makes one feel like being inside the world's most closed country...A humorous and inventive travel guide to North Korea...Our news media are overflowing with North Korea coverage, but the depictions are mostly superficial and steroptypical. "The Traitor's Guide" stands out from that crowd, in that it opens up to a deeper understanding of North Korea..."
"When it comes to the stage machinery of North Korea, Traavik is on home turf in more than one sense and has a lot to contribute with (...) Educated as a theatre director, he gets away with his ambiguous strategies as he is fluent in both the literal propaganda of the dictatorship and the double meanings of the free world." 
"That the stories are told from an insider's perspective, but still seen through our Western eyes, makes it the perfect travel guide for a slow train trip to or through North Korea. (Traavik) no doubt has an insight in the country and its culture which very few others have."
"What makes this book unique is that Traavik is able to see the world through North Korean eyes, while at the same time being naturally familiar with the Western perception of the country (...) A book that makes you wiser." 

Traitor's Guide to North Korea is both a travel guide and a psychological user's manual for one of the world's most feared, as well as misunderstood, nations.

For seven years, Morten Traavik was an authorized cultural liaison for "the world's most closed country", responsible for its cultural exchanges with the outside world. Against all odds, he managed to win the trust of the regime and build close friendships. A major geopolitical standoff, a nuclear test and a death threat made him suspend the collaboration in the autumn of 2017. Because of this, he is now free to share his unique experiences and honest insights from North Korea.

With the Traitor's Guide, Traavik opens the door ajar and brings us closer to the daily lives of today's North Koreans, telling the stories of other fearless Norwegians who have formed close ties to the country, and explains the historical and political background for the most enduringly fascinating freakshow on the stage of world politics.

(Forræderens guide till Nord-Korea, Aschehoug, Norway 2018)

Read English-language excerpts and reviews here.