Writer of Color: Chang-Rae Lee

Photo of POC writer Chang-Rae Lee from The Daily Beast

Quick Facts on POC Writer Chang-Rae Lee

  • Born July 29, 1965
  • Writes fiction, novels
  • Teaches Creative Writing at Stanford University

Biography of POC Writer Chang-Rae Lee

Writer of color Chang-Rae Lee was born in South Korea. He immigrated to the US with his parents as an infant.

He received his BA in English from Yale and his MFA at the University of Oregon where he worked on his debut novel Native Speaker.

Chang-Rae Lee served as an instructor soon after graduation, first at the University of Oregon then at Hunter College. Later, he spearheaded the Creative Writing program at Princeton before moving to teach at Stanford University.

Read his interview with Stanford here.

Super Fact: Chang-Rae Lee is the first Korean American novelist to be published by a major house.

Before You Read POC Writer Chang-Rae Lee

Writer of color Chang-Rae Lee focuses on themes and issues important to the Asian American community, namely immigration, assimilation, identity, belonging and the past history each person carries to a new place.

While he is a writer of color, he makes a clear statement that he does not aim to be an ambassador for Korean culture. He distinguishes himself from the likes of Amy Tan, those who grew up in foreign countries well into their adult lives. Chang-Rae Lee identifies as Korean American, and notes that his experiences are different from those of the older generation of writers of color. 

Quotes from POC Writer Chang-Rae Lee

“I’m interested in people who find themselves in places, either of their choosing or not, and who are forced to decide how best to live there. That feeling of both citizenship and exile, of always being an expatriate-with all the attendant problems and complications and delight.”

“We read and remember certain writers because they offer distinctive voices and perspectives, because they’ve given themselves over completely and passionately to their obsessions while vigorously ignoring everything else.”

“Part of writing a novel is being willing to leap into the blackness. You have very little idea, really, of what’s going ot happen. You have a broad sense, maybe, but it’s this rash leap.”

Works by POC Writer Chang-Rae Lee

1995 Native Speaker

1999 A Gesture Life

2004 Aloft

2010 The Surrendered

2014 On Such A Full Sea

 

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