Min Jin Lee Facts 📝

No doubt one of the finest Korean-American writers of today, Min Jin Lee has proved herself unique in that she takes a cue from her personal experience to create stunning novels about broader experiences of Koreans in diaspora.

Min Jin Lee

American Writer

Beyond the story of being an immigrant in a foreign country, there are several other interesting facts worth knowing about the established writer, Min Jin Lee. Next, we take a deep dive for an exploration of some of the most curious things about her.

Min Jin Lee Moved to the United States at Age 7

As a child, Min Jin Lee relocated with her parents and sisters, thanks to the help of her Uncle John, her mother’s elder sister – who had earlier immigrated to America at 23.

Her uncle knew the harsh conditions Lee and her family were going through while in Korea, so he worked very hard to gain economic stability in the State so that he was able to sponsor her family’s relocation into a more robust economy where their chances of survival and making it will great lynch improve.

She Was Extremely Shy As a Child

Min Jin Lee was the shy type, and even though this might have gotten worse with her having to live as an immigrant living in a new, strange country, she admitted she had been that way for as long as she could remember – even back then in Korea.

In America, it was different; extremely difficult not to lose more confidence. She found herself surrounded by new, different people from different ethnicities and cultures, and it’s even made worse by the fact that, at first, she couldn’t speak English.

They ensured she had a terrible experience at elementary school, where she was frequently picked on and derided.

Min Jin Lee Wanted to Be a Political Writer

Min Jin Lee recounted, in one of her essays, that, despite her huge success in literary fiction and nonfiction, she had wanted to become a political writer, and it’s possible she had this mindset because she majored in history and learned about the world civilizations and politics.

However, after several decades of massive consumption of good old-fashioned literary prose and drama, she soon found her true calling was tied to crafting great, historically relevant stories, mostly in the area of fiction. She followed her calling from there.

Her addiction to reading prepared her to write about her immigrant life

Min Jin Lee is a proper bookworm who has read and reviewed scores of books. Books were very fundamental to her upbringing, and that credit is owed to her uncle John – who introduced her and her sisters to the Elmhurst library in Queens.

From there, she managed to cultivate the culture of reading books to the extent that, at every wanting point in her life, she always had a book or books to help her get through it. This habit will then go on to help reshape her ability to craft out compelling human interest narrative, a skill with which she penned her immigrant life story.

She Wasn’t Really the Boys’ Favorite

Lee admitted to experiencing several heartbreaks and disappointments in relation to boys when she was a teenager. Like every normal girl, she had eyes for the cute and good-looking, but it didn’t quite augur well for her as they’d usually just end up not looking her way, or if they did, break her heart in the end.

As usual, books and literature were her resort for when she had rough experiences like this; she’d literally just pick one up, and the pain would go away.

Min Jin Lee’s Father Was a Korean War Refugee

Before coming to the United States to settle in Koreatown as a jeweler with his wife and three daughters, Lee’s father was a Korean war prisoner who served the American soldiers and went on errands for them after he was captured.

She Had a Happy Childhood

Despite having quite a traumatic experience characterized by special, mostly unpleasant treatment from the neighbors and outsiders, Lee believed she had had a relatively happy childhood thanks to her parents’ hard work to provide for the basic needs of her and her sisters.

Unlike Most Students, Min Jin Lee’s College Expenses Were Catered For By Her Parents

Lee recounted that her parents were so hard workers they spent more time at work than at home sometimes. All this was so that they were able to cater to their children, and it paid off because, like other children who had to get an education on credit, her parents took care of everything for her.

Lee Has a Son Who is 24 and in College

Right when Lee was perfecting her writing skill, she had a son around the late 1990s. During this time, it was especially hard for her to juggle between being a mother and advancing her writing career, but she obviously handled both well with her son, now grown and in college, and her books winning awards and opening new doors.

Lee’s Currently Putting Together The Final Piece of Her Korean Diaspora Trilogy

From ‘Free Food For Millionaires’ to ‘Pachinko’ and now incoming ‘American Hagwon,’ Lee is currently this close to completing her Korean diaspora trilogy. With the first two books enjoying huge successes with readers and critics alike, ‘American Hagwon’ is sure to gather momentum for an equally successful release.


Is Min Jin Lee currently working on any novel?

Lee is currently living in Harlem, where she is working on a book to be titled ‘American Hagwon’ – the supposedly final piece to her trilogy.

Who is Min Jin Lee’s favorite family member?

Lee considers her uncle John (although late now) as her favorite family member. This is largely because of the positive impact he had on her family and on her while growing up.

Where did Min Jin Lee get the inspiration to write about her immigrant life?

Min Jin Lee’s inspiration for writing about her immigrant life comes from her overindulgence in books and other literature. This made her learn how to effectively tell her story without shame or regret.

Victor Onuorah
About Victor Onuorah
Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.
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