ICAS Bulletin
Institute for Corean-American Studies, Inc.

November 1, 2002

Chang-Rae Lee

nominated for

ICAS Annual Liberty Award 2002

Dear Friend:

We are pleased to share with you that Chang Rae Lee has been nominated for the ICAS Annual Liberty Award 2002 for his "brilliant writings which explore a theme of identity, belonging and assimilation challenging many Korean-American outsiders".

Chang Rae Lee, a second-generation Korean-American, immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 3 years old. He was raised in Westchester, New York, and graduated from Yale University with a degree in English and from the University of Oregon with a MFA in writing. He worked as a Wall Street analyst for a year before turning to writing full time. His debut novel, Native Speaker (1995), won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the American Book Award and explores the life of a Korean-American outsider who is involved in espionage. In 1999, he published his second novel, A Gesture Life, which elaborated on his themes of identity, belonging and assimilation through the narrative of an elderly physician who remembers treating Korean "comfort women" during World War II and won the Anisfeld-Wolf Prize in Fiction, the Asian-American Literary Award for Fiction and the Myers Outstanding Book Award, among other awards. For that book The New Yorker magazine named Lee one of the 20 best American writers under 40. He was the director of the MFA Program at Hunter College in New York City.

In the spring of 2002, Chang Rae was named professor in the Council of the Humanities and Program in Creative Writing of the Princeton University. Joyce Carol Oates, Princeton's Roger S Berlind '52 Professor in the Humanities, described Chang Rae as "one of the most talented and promising writers of his generation and [he] is notable for his fusion of large political and social issues with precisely observed domestic details and for his sympathetic portrayal of the complexity of human relations." Similarly, Professor Alexander Nehamas, chair of Princeton's Humanities Council, described him as "a subtle and sensitive writer and an infectiously enthusiastic teacher [and] one of the most prominent and promising Asian-American authors of this generation."

In addition to his two novels, Chang Rae has published essays and stories in literary journals and general-interest publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times and Gourmet, and his writings have been collected in numerous anthologies.

Previous honourees include Vice President of the Heritage Foundation Becky N Dunlop, U S Rep Tony P Hall, U S Ambassador Charles Kartman, Dr Jeong H Kim, Nobel Laureate Lawrence R Klein, U S Assistant Secretary of State Harold Koh, Attorney Jerome J Shestack, U S Ambassador Richar L Walker, Chairman of SEI Alfred P West and U S Deputy Assistant Attorney General John C Yoo.


Sang Joo Kim / signed
Sr. Fellow & Executive Vice President

ICAS Fellow