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Ed Bok Lee

Ed Bok Lee

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Ed Bok Lee is the author of Real Karaoke People, a national best-seller in poetry and winner of a PEN/Open Book Award
PEN/Open Book
PEN/Open Book is a program intended to foster racial and ethnic diversity within the literary and publishing communities, and works to establish access for diverse literary groups to the publishing industry...

, an Asian American Literary Award (Members' Choice Award), and a Many Voices Prize. Lee's second book is entitled Whorled (Coffee House Press, Fall 2011).

Lee was born in Fargo, North Dakota
Fargo, North Dakota
Fargo is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Dakota and the county seat of Cass County. In 2010, its population was 105,549, and it had an estimated metropolitan population of 208,777...

 and raised in South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

, and Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

. He studied Slavic and Central Asian Studies at the University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is a public research university located in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, United States. It is the oldest and largest part of the University of Minnesota system and has the fourth-largest main campus student body in the United States, with 52,557...

, Kazakh State Al-Farabi University
Al-Farabi University
Al-Farabi Kazakh National University , also called KazGU or KazNU, is a university in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Named after the Muslim scholar, it is the country's primary and largest university....

 in Almaty
Almaty , also known by its former names Verny and Alma-Ata , is the former capital of Kazakhstan and the nation's largest city, with a population of 1,348,500...

, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, Indiana University
Indiana University
Indiana University is a multi-campus public university system in the state of Indiana, United States. Indiana University has a combined student body of more than 100,000 students, including approximately 42,000 students enrolled at the Indiana University Bloomington campus and approximately 37,000...

, and the University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

. He received a Master of Fine Arts
Master of Fine Arts
A Master of Fine Arts is a graduate degree typically requiring 2–3 years of postgraduate study beyond the bachelor's degree , although the term of study will vary by country or by university. The MFA is usually awarded in visual arts, creative writing, filmmaking, dance, or theatre/performing arts...

 from Brown University
Brown University
Brown University is a private, Ivy League university located in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1764 prior to American independence from the British Empire as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations early in the reign of King George III ,...

. Recognition for his poems, fiction, essays, and plays include grants from the Jerome Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, Loft Literary Center, and National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent agency of the United States federal government that offers support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence. It was created by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. Its current...


He has worked as a bartender, phys ed and ESL instructor, journalist, script writer, and business translator, and shared his various work in journals, anthologies, and on stages across North America, Europe and Asia, as well as on public radio and TV, including MTV. Lee's plays, including Passage, El Santo Americano, and St. Petersburg, have been seen at major regional and national theaters including the Guthrie Theater
Guthrie Theater
The Guthrie Theater is a center for theater performance, production, education, and professional training in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is the result of the desire of Sir Tyrone Guthrie, Oliver Rea, and Peter Zeisler to create a resident acting company that would produce and perform the classics in...

, New York Theatre Workshop, Joseph Papp Public Theater, Theater Mu
Mu Performing Arts
Mu Performing Arts is a Minneapolis based theater group formed in 1992 by Rick Shiomi, Dong-il Lee, Diane Espaldon, and Martha Johnson. It is composed of Theater Mu, which features stage performances and Mu Daiko, a taiko drumming ensemble...

, Taipei Theatre, Trinity Repertory Company, and the Walker Art Center
Walker Art Center
The Walker Art Center is a contemporary art center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. The Walker is considered one of the nation's "big five" museums for modern art along with the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Hirshhorn...


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