Nami Mun grew up in Seoul and the Bronx and now lives in Chicago, where she teaches Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago. In-between she worked as an Avon Lady, a street vendor, a photojournalist, a waitress, an activities coordinator for a nursing home, a U.S. Delegate in Beijing, and a criminal defense investigator. Mun earned her G.E.D. and now holds a B.A. from the University of California Berkeley and an M.F.A. from the University of Michigan.
In 2011, she told Chicago Literati's Abby Sheaffer about the minute she realized she wanted to be a writer: "When I was a runaway, during my teenage years in New York, I'd just hop trains and ride them around all day long so I could keep warm during bad weather. And I'd write in my journal. I remember one day this woman sat down next to me, really close, and soon I realized she was reading over my shoulder… the more I wrote, the more demonstrative she became, saying things outright and shaking her head. What I remember most is how she never addressed me directly. I don't think she even saw me, really. .. I got the sense that even if I didn't exist in her world, my words could. I was so lonely at the time. When you live on the margins, people tend to not see you, so to have even this kind of connection with someone, I don't know, it just felt very powerful. Decades later I've come to realize that this is the kind of connection I want with my readers."
Mun's first book, Miles from Nowhere (Riverhead), a novel told in interlocking short stories, won a Whiting Award, a Pushcart, and the Chicago Public Library's 21st Century Award. It was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and held spots on lists published at Amazon, Booklist, and Chicago Magazine.