Lisa See (The Secrets We Keep: Finding the Lost Voice of China, Women, and Our Families)

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Lisa See, author of the critically-acclaimed international bestseller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005), has always been intrigued by stories that have been lost, forgotten, or deliberately covered up, whether in the past or happening right now in the world today. For Snow Flower, she traveled to a remote area of China – where she was told she was only the second foreigner ever to visit – to research the secret writing invented, used, and kept a secret by women for over a thousand years. Amy Tan called the novel “achingly beautiful, a marvel of imagination.” Others agreed, and foreign-language rights for Snow Flower were sold to 36 countries. The novel also became a New York Times bestseller, a Booksense Number One Pick, and has won numerous awards domestically and internationally. Ms. See‟s new novel once again delves into forgotten history. Peony in Love takes place in 17th-century China in the Yangzi River delta. It‟s based on the true story of three “lovesick maidens,” who were married

to the same man – one right after the other, not one reaching age twenty. Together they wrote the first book of its kind to have been written and published anywhere in the world by women. (The lovesick maidens were part of a much larger phenomenon. In the 17th century, there were more women writers in China who were being published than altogether in the rest of the world at that time.) Ultimately, Peony in Love about the bonds of female friendship, the power of words, the desire that all women have to be heard, and finally those emotions that are so strong that they transcend time, place, and perhaps even death.

Ms. See was born in Paris but grew up in Los Angeles, spending much of her time in Chinatown. Her first book, On Gold Mountain: The One Hundred Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family (1995), was a national bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book. The book traces the journey of Lisa‟s great-grandfather, Fong See, who overcame obstacles at every step to become the 100-year old godfather of Los Angeles‟s Chinatown and the patriarch of a sprawling family.

Ms. See recently designed a walking tour of Los Angeles Chinatown and wrote the companion guidebook for Angels Walk L.A. to celebrate the opening of the MTA‟s new Chinatown metro station. She also curated the inaugural exhibition – a retrospective of artist Tyrus Wong – for the grand opening of the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles.

Ms. See serves as a Lost Angeles City Commissioner on the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Monument Authority. She was honored as National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women in 2001 and was the recipient of the Chinese American Museum‟s History Makers Award in Fall 2003.


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