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Meet Yong Takahashi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yong Takahashi.

Yong, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My name is Yong Takahashi. I moved to America (Detroit) from South Korea when I was two and a half years old. Until I started school, I didn’t speak English. I only knew a few phrases by watching television. There wasn’t an English as a Second Language program back then, so I was put into special education. After a few months, I skipped kindergarten and went into the first grade. I suppose children learn quickly. When I was twenty-three, I moved to Atlanta, where I worked in the accounting and real estate industries. I enjoyed the jobs but not Corporate America. I faced racism and sexism and was often told I didn’t need a raise because I had a husband to take care of me or told I’d never be promoted to management because Asian women were meek.

I always enjoyed writing but never thought it could be a profession. I wrote down story ideas from time to time. When I turned thirty-nine, I decided to write a novel. It was a lot harder than I imagined, so I started writing short stories instead. I also took an advanced creative writing course and bought every how-to book I could get my hands on. This led to publishing my first short story collection, THE ESCAPE TO CANDYLAND, earlier this year.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The journey took a lot longer than I anticipated. I thought I could birth a novel in a year. I was wrong. I started many different projects as I tried to find my footing. I attended many writer’s conferences and critique groups as I hoped to learn from experts. Early in my writing journey, I attended a writers retreat in Italy. All the other participants had been writing for a while. Some of them told me I wasn’t a good writer. I told myself I was just happy to be in Tuscany. I ate great food and enjoyed the monastery where we stayed. I came home and kept writing.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I was a finalist in a novel contest. Even though I didn’t win, the publisher offered me a contract to publish my book.

I’m a first-generation Korean American. I grew up in Detroit, but I’ve lived most of my adult life in Atlanta. This mash-up of cultures finds its way into my writing. My poetic memoir will be published this May. It follows my journey as I struggled to live in two different worlds – Korea and America – and learned life’s harsh lessons, searched for love, and attempted to heal from past wounds. I also co-wrote a song titled I RISE with Rebecca Hosking last year. Later this year, I will be co-writing an album with her.

What were you like growing up?
I was very quiet and reserved. I loved to read.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Facebook: @yctwriter
  • Instagram: @yctwriter
  • Twitter: @yctwriter

At the Korean airport 1973

Blurbs from book

Image Credit:

Author photo – Charlene Gregory

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