Popular Posts

Friday, July 28, 2023

'Willing to leap into blackness'


Part of writing a novel is being willing to leap into the blackness. You have very little idea, really, of what's going to happen. You have a broad sense, maybe, but it's this rash leap. – Chang-Rae Lee

Born in Korea on this date in 1965, Lee emigrated to the U.S. with his family and has used the Korean immigrant experience as the primary focus for his award-winning writing and teaching about creative writing at Stanford.  In his teaching he stresses that students should be aware of the broad spectrum of writing styles.
   “I'll offer them stories from Anton Chekhov to Denis Johnson, from Flannery O'Connor to A.M. Homes, and perhaps investigating all that strange variation of beauty has rubbed off on me. Or perhaps that's why I enjoy teaching literature,” he said.
Lee's novel Native Speaker won numerous awards, including the prestigious Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. The novel centers around a Korean American industrial spy and explores themes of alienation and betrayal as felt or perpetrated by immigrants and first-generation citizens, something he’s repeated in other works. 

Often, he said, he isn’t sure where he’s headed when he starts, but that’s not a bad thing.   As for the most challenging aspect of teaching, he said it's convincing younger writers of the importance of reading widely and passionately.

Chang-Rae Lee
“I often think that the prime directive for me as a teacher of writing is akin to that for a physician, which is this: do no harm.”

No comments:

Post a Comment