Celebrating New Asian American Writing
Min Jin Lee
Lee’s debut novel Free Food for Millionaires (2007) was among the Top 10 Books of the Year for The Times of London, NPR’s Fresh Air, USA Today, and was a national bestseller. In 2019, Free Food for Millionaires was a finalist for One Book, One New York, a city-wide reading program. Lee’s writings have appeared in The New Yorker, NPR’s Selected Shorts, One Story, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, Condé Nast Traveler, The Times of London, and Wall Street Journal. She served three consecutive seasons as a Morning Forum columnist of The Chosun Ilbo of South Korea. In 2018, Lee was named as an Adweek Creative 100 for being one of the “10 Writers and Editors Who Are Changing the National Conversation” and a Frederick Douglass 200. In 2019, Lee was inducted in the New York Foundation for the Arts Hall of Fame. She received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Monmouth College. She will be a Writer-in-Residence at Amherst College from 2019-22. She serves as a trustee of PEN America and as a director of the Authors Guild.
Sehgal grew up in Virginia, New Delhi, Manila, Montreal and Budapest. She studied at McGill University and received an MFA from Columbia University, where she has taught writing workshops and a master class on criticism. In an interview with Poets & Writers magazine, she described her early life as a reader: “My mother had a marvelous, idiosyncratic library — lots of André Gide, Jean Genet, and Oscar Wilde, lots of philosophy, and lots of Jackie Collins. But she was terribly strict, and the library was off-limits to us. Naturally my sister and I became the most frantic little book thieves; I must have spent the first decade of my life with a novel — and usually something massively inappropriate like Judy Blume’s Wifey or Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckinridge — stuffed in the waistband of my pants.” Of criticism, she says simply, “I just got addicted to the form, its constraints and possibilities.”