Sunday 21st January 2018,

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Inquirer: Best Selling Author Chang Rae Lee Gave up Career on Wall Street

posted by Randall

Chang Rae LeeChang Rae Lee never wanted to be a writer when he grew up, he told a crowd gathered at the National Book Store and Raffle Makati’s Philippine Literary Festival 2014 (photo from Vassar College).

The New York Times best selling author wanted to be a fighter pilot, but he says his eye sight wasn’t good enough.

So he decided to take on a job on Wall Street, because it allowed him to write and he was pretty good with numbers, he told the Inquirer.

Lee soon found out he didn’t have the passion to work on Wall Street, and after one year, quit his job to follow his dream.

“I always enjoyed writing but I never allowed myself to think that way.”  “It wasn’t part of my upbringing. I always knew it would be a hobby but I never gave myself sanction to think about it,” said the Korean American.

His debut novel in 1995, Native Speaker, catapulted him to national recognition.

That lead to many awards including the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and the American Library Association Notable Book award.

 Three more books have followed including his latest, On Such a Full Sea.


“It’s all been difficult and yet I feel as if I’m very fortunate. Every day it seems like a huge struggle and every day, I have a little fear that I won’t be able to do my work in the right way,” Chang-Rae Lee says. “It’s a form of performance anxiety everyday but at the same time I feel lucky to have that kind of anxiety, which, I think, helps me do my work. It’s both a big challenge and the best thing.”


You can read his thoughts on his career and his latest book in the Inquirer.


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