Helie Lee

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Helie Lee
Hangul 이혜리[1]
Revised Romanization Yi Hyeri
McCune–Reischauer Yi Hyeri

Helie Lee (born August 29, 1964) is a Korean American writer and university lecturer [2] who has also made a documentary film.

Biography and work[edit]

Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea. Her family moved to Montreal, Quebec, Canada when she was four years old. A year later, they emigrated to the United States, settling in California. Lee graduated from UCLA in 1986 with a college degree in Political Science.

Lee became active in raising awareness of human rights issues for North Korean defectors. In 2002, she testified before the Senate Subcommittee Hearing on Immigration to urge increased American support for North Korean refugees.[3]


Still Life With Rice[edit]

Still Life With Rice is a novel written by Helie Lee, and published in 1997 by Simon & Schuster.[4] It is based on accounts of suffering due to war and child abuse. Although it is written by Helie Lee, the book is mostly written from the viewpoint of Lee's grandmother, Hongyong Baek. In the book, Lee expresses her annoyance for the way her mother and grandmother think she is too Americanized, and should be more Korean. It was described by Booklist as having "great narrative power".[5]

In the Absence of Sun[edit]

In her second book, In the Absence of Sun(1998), Lee recounts her family's experiences in helping her uncle escape from North Korea.[6]

In 2010, she released a documentary called Macho Like Me, in which she "doffs all signifiers of femininity to live as a man". A review in the LA Weekly panned the "cutsey one–woman-show framing device" but stated that the experiences that "upend [Lee's] preconceptions, mak[e] for engrossing viewing."[7]

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ "반 년을 남자로 산 이 여자, 미국 베스트셀러 작가 이혜리", Korea Daily, 2011-01-14, retrieved 2011-09-29 
  2. ^ Profile in Courage People Magazine. June 17, 2002Vol. 57No. 23 By Galina Espinoza
  3. ^ Testimony of Ms. Helie Lee June 21, 2002
  4. ^ Still Life With Rice. Simon & Schuster. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  5. ^ "Still Life With Rice (Paperback)". Booklist review quoted on Amazon. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  6. ^ Korean-American remembers how she helped family out of North Korea Southern California Public Radio KPPC interview with Susan Valot July 3, 2009
  7. ^ Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival: Subculture Within a Subculture LA Weekly Ernest Hardy. Apr 29 2010.