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HICKORY — Lenoir-Rhyne University will welcome author Min Jin Lee, who will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 5, in Belk Centrum as part of the school’s Visiting Writers Series. Lee is a recipient of several top 10 awards from reviewers such as The New York Times Book Review and The Times of London.

The Visiting Writers Series at Lenoir-Rhyne University invites authors to tell the stories behind their own works in a relaxed environment before an audience filled with campus and community members. The Writers Series’ mission is to build a community of readers, because it believes a community that reads is a more creative, open and tolerant community. The VWS believes the beauty and power of words help people make sense of the world.

Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to Queens, New York, with her family in 1976, when she was 7 years old. She is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science and was inducted into the Bronx Science Hall of Fame. At Yale College, she majored in history and was awarded the Henry Wright Prize for Nonfiction and the James Ashmun Veech Prize for Fiction.

Lee attended law school at Georgetown University and worked as a lawyer for several years in New York before writing full time. Her debut novel, “Free Food for Millionaires,” was a Top 10 Book of the Year for The Times of London, NPR’s Fresh Air, USA Today.

Lee lived in Tokyo from 2007-11, where she researched and wrote “Pachinko.” It was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction, runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the Medici Book Club Prize and The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2017, and is an exceptional novel that grapples with problems common to transplanted people.

As of the fall of 2018, Lee was based in Boston, where she worked on “American Hagwon,” the third diaspora novel of “The Koreans” trilogy. From 2019-22, she will be a writer-in-residence at Amherst College. Min Jin Lee received fellowships in Fiction from the Guggenheim Foundation (2018), the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard (2018-19) and the New York Foundation for the Arts (2000).

In 2019, Apple ordered a television series adaptation of “Pachinko,” and former President Barack Obama selected it for his recommended reading list, calling it “a powerful story about resilience and compassion.” On July 10, 2018, she had the unique honor of being a Double Jeopardy clue in the “Literary Types” category for $1,200 spot on the game show “Jeopardy!”: “Korean-born Min Jin Lee wrote a 2017 book with this Japanese pinball game as its title.”

To learn more about Min Jin Lee, visit her website, www.min jinlee.com/

The 2019-20 season continues with these authors:

» Thursday, April 23, 7 p.m., P.E. Monroe Auditorium: Eboo Patel.

» Saturday, April 25, noon, P.E. Monroe Auditorium Sara Pennypacker, Little Read author.

LRU would like to thank its community partner, the Hickory International Council, for helping to sponsor the program.

The series also is supported by the United Arts Council of Catawba County through the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts. The VWS is also supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Sponsors of the 2019-20 VWS are Café Rule, Corning Foundation, Crowne Plaza Hickory, Footcandle Film Society of Catawba County, The Hickory “Hop,” Hickory Public Library, National Endowment for the Arts, North Carolina Arts Council, and United Arts Council of Catawba County.

For more information, visit lr.edu/VWS or call the LR Box Office, which is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at 828-328-7206.

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