On this episode of “Literary Arts: The Archive Project,” novelist Min Jin Lee discusses her writing craft and inspiring personal journey to become a professional writer. With warm humor, Lee honestly opens up about her struggle to succeed—as a Korean-born American immigrant battling a life-threatening chronic illness—within the publishing industry, and details her perseverance in the face of countless rejection letters. A life-long reader and lover of books, Lee shines as she speaks of the necessity of the arts as a vehicle to empower those who are disempowered.


Min Jin Lee’s novel “Pachinko” was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and a New York Times 10 Best Books of 2017. The San Francisco Chronicle lauds it as “beautiful… Lee’s sweeping four-generation saga of a Korean family is an extraordinary epic.” It was on over 75 best books of the year lists, and will be translated into 27 languages. Her debut novel, 2007’s “Free Food for Millionaires,” was also a national best seller as well as a Top 10 Books of the Year for The Times of London, NPR’s Fresh Air, and USA Today. Lee is a recipient of fellowships in fiction from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard.