Marie Myung-Ok Lee is an acclaimed novelist and essayist whose writing mines landscapes of difference for common humanity. A pioneer in Asian American young adult fiction, she wrote Somebody's Daughter (2005) after a Fulbright Fellowship in Korea, for which she recorded the oral histories of Korean birth mothers. Somebody's Daughter follows a 19-year old Korean American adoptee who returns to Korea in what becomes a journey to find her birthmother, a journey to gather up, to reassemble, a fragmented identity.
Lee has described growing up in all-white Hibbing, Minnesota, as living in "a racial petri dish," and that imperative, to make sense of difference (in all of its many incarnations) and the fractures it creates, appears throughout her work. Her essays on such diverse topics as medical marijuana and autism, cosmetic surgery, and immigration have been published in The Atlantic, Witness, Slate, The Kenyon Review, Newsweek, and The New York Times. Lee is a former founder of the Asian American Writers' Workshop and has served as a judge for the National Book Award and a visiting lecturer at Yale University. She is currently a writer-in-residence at her alma mater, Brown University.