In her YA novel Snowglobe, Korean author Soyoung Park invites readers into a frigid universe where many crave the chance to sell one’s life for entertainment.

Park’s debut novel, originally released in South Korea in 2020 by Changbi Publishers, will hit shelves in the U.S. on February 27 from Random House imprint Delacorte Press. It was acquired in 2020 by Delacorte v-p and senior executive editor Krista Marino, and has a first printing of 125,000 copies. Snowglobe will simultaneously be released in the U.K. by Penguin Random House UK.

Ever since the world plummeted to sub-zero temperatures due to climate change, 16-year-old Jeon Chobahm and the rest of the lower-class population must provide the city’s power via manual labor. The sole exception to the rule are the actors and directors who live inside Snowglobe, the only temperature-regulated part of the world that is protected from icy conditions. Chobahm has always felt an inexplicable connection to actress Goh Haeri. When she’s offered the opportunity to move to Snowglobe to secretly pretend to be Haeri after the actress dies under mysterious circumstances, Chobahm quickly realizes that life there is nothing like what she’s seen on TV, and she finds herself caught in the middle of a conspiracy.

The first inklings of Snowglobe came to Park during her time as a media student at Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul. Confronting the concepts of identity and privacy arose from watching YouTube vloggers and becoming entranced by their seemingly perfect lives and the connection she felt to complete strangers.

“I have been fascinated by personal identity my whole life,” Park told PW. “I’ve already witnessed [how] privacy has become a new currency. You share your life, your experience, yourself, and in return you get dollars. Fame has become the most important element of everything in our lives.”

It wasn’t until YA submissions opened for a writing contest from Changbi Publishers that she realized she wanted to present this story to an audience. Though she stalled for some time, in early 2020 Park’s resolve steeled, and unable to “let the chance go” she turned around a manuscript for her icy dystopian tale in three weeks, just in time for the deadline.

Park won the Changbi X Kakaopage Young Adult Novel Award, and after Snowglobe was published, she began considering options for bringing Snowglobe to an even larger stage. The success of the novel was the “biggest turning point of my career,” she said. Park began considering how to take the novel global.

During the early summer of 2020, a translated manuscript of Snowglobe landed on editor Marino’s desk from Sue Park at the Barbara J. Zitwer Agency, who’d sent it out as a submission. Unable to shake the story from her mind amid the chaos of the pandemic, Marino knew she had something special on her hands.

“Everyone was really scared and sad,” Marino said. “We didn’t know what our future was. I was like, this [manuscript] brings me joy to talk about. It’s so fresh and different that I feel like this is a gamble worth taking. And so I made an offer.”

In July 2020, Delacorte announced that Marino had acquired world English rights and had signed on Joungmin Lee Comfort as translator. Marino noted that though she doesn’t receive translated titles often, Delacorte has a history of seeking out YA literature from across the globe, such as The Murderer’s Ape, written and illustrated by Jakob Wegelius and translated from the Swedish by Peter Graves, and A Time of Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux, translated from the French by Y. Maudet. But Snowglobe is the first piece of Korean literature that the imprint has bought and translated.

Joungmin Lee Comfort described the invitation to translate Snowglobe as being like “Charlie with a golden ticket.” The novel’s “sprinkles of sharp humor” and “superb writing” are what drew her to the project. Though Comfort and Park didn’t interact much at the start of the translation process (“I work in solitude most of the time” Comfort said), the pair did eventually meet via Zoom to ensure that aspects of the story were clear, and that Snowglobe retained “an authentic Korean flavor.”

Comfort noted that she “feels validated that there’s such an appetite for Korean literature, and Korean content in general.” Citing Halyu or “Korean wave,” she said that Korean culture continues to make an imprint in global pop culture, from films such as Parasite and Train to Busan to musical juggernauts like BTS and Blackpink, and literature.

“As long as we continue to come up with fresh ideas and unique concepts, to continue with the metaphor, I think the ocean level will have risen with each new wave,” Comfort said.

Park and Comfort will celebrate the U.S. publication together in New York City on February 27 with a conversation at the Korean Society. But their story doesn’t end here. The novel will also be published in Russia by AST; in Italy by Mondadori; in France by Nathan; and in Germany by Piper. Snowglobe was optioned by CJ Entertainment, the producers of such Korean hits as Parasite and Snowpiercer, and the project has been greenlit. Comfort will act as translator for Snowglobe 2, the duology closer out early next year, in which Park says readers “can see the grandest show of Snowglobe.”

Snowglobe by Soyoung Park, trans. from the Korean by Joungmin Lee Comfort. Delacorte, $20.99 Feb. 27 ISBN 978-0-593-48497-5