“The idea that you could make something starts with a little flicker of audacity. That self-accreditation saying, ‘I think what I have to say, make, and see is worth looking at—and worth sharing.”
-Min Jin Lee, episode 321 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso
Live from On Air Fest in Brooklyn, our talk with award-winning author Min Jin Lee! At the top, we discuss the roadmap to her upcoming third novel, American Hagwon (4:25), immigrating from Seoul to Queens in the 1970s (7:10), and the violence her family endured working in America (15:50). Then, Lee reflects on her years at Yale (19:15), a life-changing diagnosis in college (21:37), and the criticism she overcame as a young writer (25:26).
On the back-half, Lee reads a personal passage from her New Yorker piece “Stonehenge” (33:05) and talks about finding community through her work (36:14), her path to publication in Free Food for Millionaires (38:32), how she learned to embrace the ephemeral moment (42:06), and the reform in education she hopes to see in years to come (45:12).
Min Jin Lee and family in Anchorage, traveling from Seoul to JFK, 1976
Min Jin Lee on the D Train, 1985
- Order Min Jin Lee’s novels Free Food for Millionaires and Pachinko.
- Read “Stonehenge” in The New Yorker.
- Learn more about her work on her website.
- Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
- For information about On Air Fest, visit their website.
- For more conversations, hear our talks with Margaret Atwood, Ocean Vuong, George Saunders, Jhumpa Lahiri, Joyce Carol Oates, Hilton Als, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Jennifer Egan.
- Order your Talk Easy mug in cream and navy or our vinyl record with Fran Lebowitz.
Original illustration by Krishna Shenoi. Reference image by Andrew Kung.
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