Chang-rae Lee biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Chang-rae Lee

Chang-rae Lee

How to pronounce Chang-rae Lee: chong-ray lee

Chang-rae Lee Biography

Chang-rae Lee is the author of Native Speaker, winner of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for First Fiction, A Gesture Life, and Aloft. He is also the recipient of an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, a Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, a NAIBA Book Award for Fiction, an Asian American Literary Award, an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, the Oregon Book Award, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, and QPB's New Voices Award. Selected by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best writers under forty, Chang-rae Lee previously taught in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University and now teaches at Stanford University.



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Interview

A video interview with Chang-rae Lee; followed by a text interview in which he discusses his fourth novel, The Surrendered set in 1950s Korea



You’ve said that the inspiration for The Surrendered was something that happened to your father, who was a refugee during the Korean War. What happened, and how did it lead to the novel? Was anything else in the novel based on actual events?
Indeed the first chapter is very loosely based on something that happened to my father during the war: one night, his younger brother was killed in a terrible accident while they were riding on top of a refugee train. My father told only of the narrow details of the accident and so I had to fictionalize most all of the surrounding circumstances of action and character, which eventually, as inevitably happens in writing, led to other stories that I hadn’t originally conceived of or anticipated. This is the only part of the novel that was based on actual events.

Next year will mark the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. You’ve remarked, however, that your book is not so much a war novel as it is a story about the effects of mass conflict on the human psyche and spirit. Can you elaborate?
There is certainly much ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Chang-rae Lee at BookBrowse
On Such a Full Sea jacket The Surrendered jacket
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Chang-rae Lee but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Martin Amis

    Martin Amis

    The road to publication for Martin Amis' latest novel, The Zone of Interest, has been less smooth than might be imagined, given that Amis is one of the stars of the British literary firmament. The New York Times recently ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Surrendered

    Try:
    The Zone of Interest
    by Martin Amis

  • Margaret Atwood

    Margaret Atwood

    Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa, and grew up in northern Ontario and Quebec, and in Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    On Such a Full Sea

    Try:
    Stone Mattress
    by Margaret Atwood

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