English professor receives award from American Academy of Arts and Letters

CHANG-RAE LEE has been honored with the Award of Merit for the Novel by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Lee, the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor in the Department of English in the School of Humanities and Sciences, is the author of six novels.

Chang-rae Lee. (Image credit: Michelle Lee)

The Award of Merit is given by the Academy each year in rotation to an “outstanding person in America” representing one of five arts: painting, the short story, sculpture, the novel, poetry and drama. There have only been 14 prior awardees in the novel category since the award was first given in 1944. Those include some of the most well-known literary figures of all time including Vladimir Nabokov, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Mann, Aldous Huxley and John O’Hara.

“Since his debut Native Speaker appeared in 1995, Chang-rae Lee has been a major figure in American letters and one of the most important voices in contemporary fiction,” said PATRICK PHILLIPS, professor of English and interim director of the Creative Writing Program. “His latest novel, My Year Abroad, has gotten much richly-deserved acclaim and reaffirms his place at the very center of so many conversations in the 21st century.”

Lee’s novels have won numerous other awards and citations, including the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the American Book Award and the American Library Association Notable Book of the Year Award. He has also written stories and articles for The New YorkerThe New York TimesTime (Asia), GrantaConde Nast TravelerFood & Wine and many other publications.

Lee said he feels very fortunate to be part of the Stanford community. “Our writing program is one the best in the country, no doubt because of the brilliance of my colleagues and their unstinting dedication to our talented and passionate students,” he said.

The award for Lee includes a $25,000 prize. The Academy’s 300 members propose candidates for the annual literary awards and a rotating committee of writers selects the winners.

Read the full article on Stanford Today.