Don Lee (author)

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Don Lee
Born 1959
Occupation Writer, Creative Writing professor
Nationality American (Korean American)
Period late 20th and early 21st century
Genre literary fiction

Don Lee (born 1959) is a Korean-American novelist, fiction writer, literary journal editor, and creative writing professor.


The son of a State Department officer, Lee - who is a third-generation Korean American - spent his childhood in Tokyo (where he attended ASIJ, or the American School in Japan) and Seoul.[1] He received his B.A. in English Literature from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and his M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Literature from Emerson College.[2]

After graduating with his M.F.A. degree, Lee taught fiction writing workshops at Emerson College for four years as an adjunct instructor, then began working full-time at the literary journal Ploughshares. He has also served as the primary editor of the literary journal Ploughshares for 17 years from 1988-2007.[3] He was also an occasional writer-in-residence in Emerson's M.F.A. program and a visiting writer at other colleges and universities.

Lee's earlier work has appeared in GQ, New England Review, American Short Fiction, Kenyon Review, and Glimmer Train, with Voir Dire anthologized in Charlie Chan Is Dead 2.[4] For his short fiction, Lee also received an O. Henry Award (for his short story "The Possible Husband")[5] and a Pushcart Prize (for his short story "The Price of Eggs in China").[6][7] Lee has also received fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the St. Botolph Club Foundation, and residencies from Yaddo and the Lannan Foundation.[8] In 2007, Lee received the inaugural Fred R. Brown Literary Award for emerging novelists from the University of Pittsburgh’s creative writing program.[9]

Lee was formerly a faculty member of the Creative Writing department at Macalester College from 2007-2008.[10] In the fall of 2008, Lee moved to the faculty of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he taught both graduate and undergraduate courses as an associate professor in the graduate Creative Writing program.[11] He is currently in the faculty of the Creative Writing program at Temple University, where he founded TINGE Magazine, an online literary journal run by graduate students.[12] He served as the director of the M.F.A. (Master of Fine Arts) program in Creative Writing at Temple University from 2011–2013.[13]

Lee has also served as an independent consultant for the literary journals Bamboo Ridge, The Georgia Review, The New England Review, Agni, and the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP).[14]


His first collection of short stories, Yellow, documents the lives of various Asian American characters living in the fictional town of Rosarita Bay. Yellow won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the "Members Choice Award" from the Asian American Writers' Workshop.[15]

He followed that collection with his first novel, Country of Origin, which earned an American Book Award, a Mixed Media Watch Image Award for Outstanding Fiction, and an Edgar Award for Best First Novel.[16]

In 2008, Lee finished writing his second novel, Wrack and Ruin.[17] The book, which revisits Rosarita Bay, was published by W.W. Norton in April 2008, and was also a finalist for the Thurber Prize.[18]

In 2012, Norton published Lee's third novel, The Collective. [19] The novel won the 2013 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature from the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association.[20]


Short story collection[edit]


Short Stories[edit]


  1. ^ Don Lee, Bio,
  2. ^ Id.
  3. ^ Id.
  4. ^ Id.
  5. ^ The O. Henry Prize Stories, Past Winners,
  6. ^ BookRags, The Price of Eggs in China,
  7. ^ Id.
  8. ^ Id.
  9. ^ Temple University Department of English, Don Lee,
  10. ^ Id.
  11. ^ Id.
  12. ^ Id.
  13. ^ Id.
  14. ^ Id.
  15. ^ Don Lee, Bio,
  16. ^ Id.
  17. ^ Dierbeck, Lisa (2008-06-22). "When Brothers Collide". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  18. ^ Don Lee, Bio,
  19. ^ Zilka, Christine Lee. "Don Lee: The Ethnic Literature Box". Guernica. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  20. ^ Id.

External links[edit]