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Korean Immigrant Author Lee Min-jin Writes about Korean-Americans

Korean Immigrant Author Lee Min-jin Writes about Korean-Americans

Posted January. 26, 2008 07:04,   


“I’m proud of being a Korean immigrant author. I’m also proud that I write about the lives of Koreans living in America.”

Lee Min-jin, the author of “Free Food for Millionaires” which was published last year and received favorable reviews from American critics, met with readers in New York on Jan. 22. “Free Food for Millionaires” will be published in Korean this March.

Her book evolves around the relationship between a Korean immigrant, who makes his living running a dry cleaner, and his daughter, a Princeton graduate.

The novel has been featured in USA Today and Newsweek, while the New York Times Book Review dedicated an entire page for the book’s review.

Lee went to America with her family when she was seven in 1976. She studied at Yale and Georgetown University Law School, and built her career as a high profile lawyer in New York before deciding to embark on writing in 1995.

“When I was 25, I already had an annual salary of more than 100,000 dollars with my own secretary. Work was my priority then. But I could not shake off the emerging thought that this life was not what I truly wanted. So I decided to do what I really wanted even if it meant less income. I started writing,” said Lee.

The path to becoming an author was not easy. She was rejected by numerous publishers. Some of them criticized that the novel “too narrowly focused on Koreans.”

At the book signing, Lee said, “If I had someone who advised me that publishing a book took 12 years, I might not have thought being a lawyer was as difficult as I thought then.” The audience burst into laughter.

When asked why she chose to write about Koreans living in America, she replied, “I see enough aesthetic value in Koreans working intensely at cleaners and delis in New York to be expressed through art.”

When asked why her novel features numerous sex scenes, Lee said, “Aside from my husband’s comment that the first draft was too serious without much taste, I believe sex is a major part of life.”