Lisa See

Having read Peony in Love i thought i would do a post about American writer and novelist Lisa See who was born in Paris, France, on February 18, 1955. Her mother, Carolyn See, was also a writer and novelist and Her paternal great-grandfather was Chinese which has had a great impact on her life and work. Lisa See graduated with a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University in 1979. Writing under the pen name Monica Highland, See, her mother Carolyn See, and John Espey,published two novels: Lotus Land (1983), 110 Shanghai Road (1986), and Greetings from Southern California (1988), a collection of early 20th Century postcards and commentary on the history they represent. She has a personal essay (“The Funeral Banquet”) included in the anthology Half and Half Between 1983 and 1996 See was West Coast correspondent for Publishers Weekly and has also written articles for Vogue, Self, and More. See has also written a libretto for the opera based on On Gold Mountain, and has helped develop the Family Discovery Gallery for the Autry Museum, which depicts 1930s Los Angeles from the perspective of her father as a seven-year-old boy. Her exhibition On Gold Mountain: A Chinese American Experience was featured in the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, and the Smithsonian.

Her books include On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family (1995), a detailed account of See’s family history, and the novels Flower Net (1997), The Interior (1999), Dragon Bones (2003), Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005), Peony in Love (2007) and Shanghai Girls (2009), which made it to the 2010 New York Times bestseller list. Flower Net, The Interior, and Dragon Bones make up the Red Princess mystery series. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love focus on the lives of Chinese women in the 19th and 17th centuries respectively. Shanghai Girls (2009) chronicles the lives of two sisters who come to Los Angeles in arranged marriages and face, among other things, the pressures put on Chinese-Americans during the anti-Communist mania of the 1950s. The sequel Dreams of Joy, was published in 2011. China Dolls was published in 2014 and deals with Chinese American nightclub performers of the 1930s and 1940s. Her latest novel is The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (2017), is about the circumstances, and culture of the Akha people of Xishuangbanna, a little known region in China. Lisa See’s forthcoming novel, The Island of Sea Women, is published March 2019 and concerns female friendship and family secrets on a small Korean island.

Lisa See has won many awards and recognitions including the Organization of Chinese Americans Women’s 2001 award as National Woman of the Year and the 2003 History Makers Award. Shanghai Girls and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan also received honorable mentions from the Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature. See also serves as a Los Angeles City Commissioner and is a public speaker. During the 2012 Golden Dragon Chinese New Year Parade in Los Angeles Chinatown, See served as the Grand Marshal.

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