Chang-rae Lee


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Chang-rae Lee, author and director of Princeton University’s Program in Creative Writing, sat down for this On the Fly interview during his March 2011 visit to Iowa City to read from The Surrendered at Prairie Lights.

Lee discusses his path from reader to writer, his love of wine and golf, and his interest in—and fear of—writing poetry. He also speaks of writing as a “spiritual practice,” suggesting that it allows for the “getting one out of one’s self…connecting in a way that you can’t connect otherwise in normal daily life.”

Lee is the author of Native Speaker, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award, A Gesture Life, winner of the Asian American Literary Award, Aloft, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, The Surrendered, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, and 2014’s On Such a Full Sea.