Chang-Rae Lee (born July 29th, 1965) is a first-generation Korean American novelist.
Lee was born in Korea in 1965. He emigrated to the United States with his family when he was 3 years old. He was later to graduate 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 financial analyst for a year before turning to writing full time. Lee teaches writing at Princeton University, where he has served as the director of Princeton's Program in Creative Writing.
His first novel, Native Speaker (1995), won the PEN/Hemingway Award and centers around a Korean American industrial spy. The novel explores themes of alienation and betrayal as felt or perpetrated by immigrants and first-generation citizens, and played out in local politics. In 1999, he published his second novel, A Gesture Life. This elaborated on his themes of identity and assimilation through the narrative of an elderly physician who remembers treating Korean comfort women during World War II. His 2004 novel, Aloft, featured Lee's first protagonist who is not Asian American, but a disengaged and isolated Italian-American suburbanite forced to deal with his world.
His upcoming novel is called The Surrendered.