Alumna E.J. Koh '13 Joins the Writers Room Behind Apple TV+'s 'Pachinko'

Angeline Dimambro
May 11, 2022

Writing alumna E.J. Koh ’13 has joined the writing team of Apple TV+’s new series Pachinko

Pachinko is an adaptation of Min Jin Lee’s bestselling novel of the same name. The book is a sweeping saga that chronicles the hopes and dreams of a Korean immigrant family across four generations as they leave their homeland in an indomitable quest to survive and thrive. Apple has just announced that they will renew the series for a second season.

Koh joined the writers room for the series to assist with interpreting the novel in its adaptation to the screen. In addition to serving as a staff writer on all seven episodes of the first season, Koh is also credited with writing the fourth episode, entitled “Chapter Four.” 

“I was brought into the writers’ room because of my research background [on intergenerational trauma], but also my family history,” Koh said in an interview with the Asian Americans Writers’ Workshop. As writer Hannah Bae notes in the interview, Koh’s ancestors were also part of the Korean diaspora to Japan that is tackled in Lee’s novel. 

“It’s not lost on me how lucky I am to be a part of that writer’s room,” Koh said in the same interview. “It’s the combination of the visuals of dance, of sound from translation, the sensitivity of emotion from poetry.”

The complete first season is available to stream now on Apple TV+. Check out the trailer for Pachinko below.

E. J. Koh is the author of the memoir The Magical Language of Others (Tin House Books, 2020), Washington State Book Award Winner, Pacific Northwest Book Award Winner, Association of Asian American Studies Book Award Winner, and PEN Open Book Award Longlist. Koh is the author of the poetry collection A Lesser Love (Louisiana State U. Press, 2017), Pleiades Editors Prize for Poetry Winner. She is the co-translator of Yi Won’s poetry collection The World’s Lightest Motorcycle (Zephyr Press, 2021). Koh has received fellowships from the American Literary Translators Association, MacDowell, and Kundiman. Her poems, stories, and translations have appeared in AGNIThe Atlantic, Boston ReviewLos Angeles Review of BooksPOETRYSlateWorld Literature Today, and elsewhere. Koh earned her MFA at Columbia University in New York for Creative Writing and Literary Translation. Koh is a PhD candidate at the University of Washington in English Literature studying Korean American literature, history, and film.