Min Jin Lee
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|Min Jin Lee|
Lee at the 2017 Texas Book Festival.
|Min Jin Lee|
|Revised Romanization||Yi Minjin|
Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea. Her family came to the United States in 1976, when she was seven years old, and she grew up in Elmhurst, Queens, New York. Her parents owned a wholesale jewelry store there. As a new immigrant, she spent much time at Queen's library, where she learned to read and write. She attended the Bronx High School of Science, and later studied history at Yale College and law at Georgetown University Law Center. She also worked as a corporate lawyer in New York for several years before becoming a writer. She lived in Japan for four years from 2007 to 2011. Lee lives in New York with her son, Sam, and her husband, Christopher Duffy, who is half-Japanese.
The works that most influence her as a writer are, "Middlemarch" by George Eliot, "Cousin Bette" by Honoré de Balzac, and the Bible.
She has also lectured about writing, literature, and politics at Columbia, Tufts, Loyola Marymount University, Stanford, Johns Hopkins (SAIS), University of Connecticut, Boston College, Hamilton College, Harvard Law School, Yale University, Ewha University, Waseda University, the American School in Japan, World Women’s Forum, the Tokyo American Center of the U.S. Embassy and the Asia Society in New York, San Francisco and Hong Kong.
Lee's short story Axis of Happiness won the 2004 Narrative Prize from Narrative Magazine.
Another short story by Lee, Motherland, about a family of Koreans in Japan was published in The Missouri Review and won The Peden Prize for Best Short Story. A slightly modified version of the story appears in her 2017 novel Pachinko.
Free Food for Millionaires
Her debut novel Free Food for Millionaires was published in 2007. It was named one of the Top 10 Novels of the Year by The Times, The Times of London, NPR's Fresh Air, USA Today, a notable novel by the San Francisco Chronicle, a New York Times Editor's Choice, was a selection for the Wall Street Journal Juggler Book Club, and a No. 1 Book Sense pick. The novel was also published in the U.K. by Random House in 2007, Italy by Einaudi and in South Korea by Image Box Publishing. The book has also been featured on online periodicals such as The Page 99 Test, and Largehearted Boy.
In 2017 Lee released a novel entitled Pachinko, which is an epic historical novel following characters from Korea who eventually migrate to Japan. It is the first novel written for an adult English speaking audience about Japanese Korean culture. The book received strong reviews including those from The Guardian, NPR, The New York Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Irish Times, and Kirkus Reviews and is on the "Best Fiction of 2017" lists from Esquire, Chicago Review of Books, Amazon.com, Entertainment Weekly, the BBC, The Guardian, and Book Riot. In a Washington Post interview, writer Roxane Gay called Pachinko her favorite book of 2017. The book was named by The New York Times as one of the 10 Best Books of 2017.
Lee has written a number of reviews. She most recently wrote a review of Toni Morrison's Home in The Times of London, and also a review in the Times of London of March Was Made of Yarn, edited by David Karashima and Elmer Luke, a collection of essays, stories, poems and manga made by Japanese artists and citizens in the wake of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. She also wrote Times of London reviews of Cynthia Ozick's Foreign Bodies and Jodi Picoult's Wonder Woman: Love and Murder.
Her essays include Will, anthologized in Breeder – Real Life Stories from the New Generation of Mothers (Seal Press Books, 2001) and Pushing Away the Plate, in To Be Real (edited by Rebecca Walker) (Doubleday, 1995). Lee also published a piece in the New York Times Magazine entitled "Low Tide", about her observations of the survivors of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. She wrote another essay entitled Up Front: After the Earthquake in Vogue, reflecting upon her experiences living in Japan with her family after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. Lee has also written two other essays in Vogue, including Weighing In (2008) and Crowning Glory (2007).
An essay entitled "Reading the World" that Lee wrote appears in the March 26, 2010 issue of Travel + Leisure. She also wrote an article profiling the cuisine and work of Tokyo chef Seiji Yamamoto in Food & Wine. She has also written a piece for the Barnes & Noble review entitled, Sex, Debt, and Revenge: Balzac’s Cousin Bette,
Her interviews and essays have also been profiled in online periodicals such as Chekhov's Mistress (My Other Village: Middlemarch by George Eliot), Moleskinerie (Pay Yourself First), and ABC News (Biblical Illiteracy or Reading the Bestseller).
Her other essays have been anthologized in The Mark Twain Anthology: Great Writers on His Life and Works, Why I’m A Democrat (Ed. Susan Mulcahy), One Big Happy Family, Sugar in my Bowl and Global and the Intimate: Feminism in Our Time.
- Axis of Happiness (2004) – 2004 Narrative Prize from Narrative Magazine
- Motherland (2004) – Peden Prize for Best Short Story, The Missouri Review
- Pachinko (2017), Grand Central Publishing, ISBN 978-1-455-56393-7
- Free Food for Millionaires (2007), ISBN 978-0-446-58108-0.
While at Yale, she was awarded both the Henry Wright Prize for Nonfiction and the James Ashmun Veech Prize for Fiction.
In 2017, Lee is a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction for her novel Pachinko.
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- Ginny Too, Interview: Min Jin Lee, Asian American Writer's Workshop, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-07-05. Retrieved 2007-07-07.
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- "The 10 Best Books of 2017". New York Times. 30 November 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
- "2017 National Book Award finalists revealed". CBS News. October 4, 2017. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
- Min Jin Lee, "Home by Toni Morrison" (review), The Times, 21 April 2012.
- Min Jin Lee, March Was Made of Yarn: edited by David Karashima and Elmer Luke (review), The Times.
- Min Jin Lee, Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick (review), The Times, 11 June 2011.
- Min Jin Lee, "Wonder Woman: Love and Murder by Jodi Picoult" (review), The Times.
- Min Jin Lee, "Low Tide", New York Times.
- Min Jin Lee, "Up Front: After the Earthquake", Vogue.
- Min Jin lee, Reading the World, http://minjinlee.com/images/uploads/Journal.pdf
- Min Jin Lee, "Why Star Chefs Revere Seiji Yamamoto".
- Min Jin Lee, "Sex, Debt, and Revenge: Balzac’s Cousin Bette" Archived 2009-04-17 at the Wayback Machine., Barnes & Noble Review.
- Min Jin Lee, "My Other Village: Middlemarch by George Eliot" (excerpt).
- Min Jin Lee, "Pay Yourself First", Moleskinerie.
- Min Jin Lee, "Biblical Illiteracy or Reading the Bestseller".
- Min Jin Lee, About the Author. Archived 2007-07-01 at the Wayback Machine.
- Hachette Book Group USA, Author: Min Jin Lee, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-06-14. Retrieved 2007-07-07.