Helie Lee is the
author of the national bestseller Still Life With Rice
(Scribner 1996), and In The Absence of Sun (Harmony Books
2002), memoirs in which she chronicles her family’s experience in
war-torn Korea from the 1930s to 1997.
Born in Seoul, Korea on August 29, 1964,
Ms. Lee’s family
immigrated first to Montreal, Canada when she was four, then to
California one year later. Ms. Lee’s family pursued their American
dream, settling in the San Fernando Valley where Ms. Lee attended El
Camino Real High School, then graduated from UCLA in 1986 with a
degree in Political Science. While
researching her first
book, she worked on such shows as In Living Color, Saved By The
Bell and the Martin Lawrence Show.
Ms. Lee’s current
work, In The Absence of Sun specifically details her
Korean-American family's risky attempt to rescue her uncle from
North Korea. The story has been featured on Nightline, CNN, the
Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, Life &
Times, and Oprah. She has spoken at Stanford, Princeton, USC,
UCLA, Northeastern University, Amherst, the Korean American
Coalition, the Korean Cultural Center, the Korean Youth Community
Center, KASCON, The Museum of Tolerance, CNN, AsiaWeek, and NPR.
Her courageous story led Cosmopolitan Magazine to select Ms. Lee out
of thousands of women nominated for their "1999 Fun Fearless
Female" competition as a "Freedom Fighter."
Ms. Lee has also been published in
Mademoiselle, Essence, and KoreAm Journal. She is currently
working on a documentary titled "MACHO LIKE ME" which follows her
six-and-a-half month journey living as a man.
Ms. Lee is a member of the Asian
American Writers Workshop, PEN, a community of writers defending
freedom of expression and building a literary culture, and Visual
Communications, a nonprofit organization that promotes Asian
Pacific media arts for the American public.
Ms. Lee lectures around the country on her
bicultural heritage and human rights issues for North Korea
refugees. In June of 2002, Ms. Lee was invited by Senator Ted
Kennedy to testify at the Senate Subcommittee Hearing on
Immigration. Ultimately, Ms. Lee embraces her responsibility as an
ambassador of Korean history and culture by creating awareness
through stories that serve as a floodlight on the closed world of