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Lisa See

Born 18 February 1955(1955-02-18)
Paris, France
Occupation Novelist, Biographer, Writer, Community Leader
Spouse(s) Richard Kendall
Children Alexander and Christopher

Lisa See is a Chinese American writer and novelist. The Chinese side of her family has had a great impact on her life and work.[1] Her books include On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family (1995), Flower Net (1997), The Interior (1999), Dragon Bones (2003), Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005), and Peony in Love (2007).

Flower Net, The Interior, and Dragon Bones make up the Red Princess mystery series. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love focus on the lives of Chinese women in the 19th and 17th centuries respectively.

See's latest novel, Shanghai Girls (2009), chronicles the lives of two sisters who come to Los Angeles in arranged marriages and face, among other things, the pressures put on Chinese-Americans during the anti-Communist mania of the 1950's.[2] See is currently working on a sequel.[3]

Writing under the pen name Monica Highland, See, her mother Carolyn See, and John Espey[4], published three novels: Lotus Land (1983), 110 Shanghai Road (1986), and Greetings from Southern California (1988). She has written a personal essay ("The Funeral Banquet") for Half and Half.[5]

See has donated her personal papers (1973-2001) to UCLA.[6]



Lisa See was born in Paris February 18, 1955,[7] but has spent many years in Los Angeles, especially Los Angeles Chinatown.[8] Her mother, Carolyn See, is also a writer and novelist. Her autobiography provides insight into her daughter's life in personal terms.[9] Lisa See graduated with a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University in 1979.[10]

See was West Coast correspondent for Publishers Weekly (1983-1996);[11] has written articles for Vogue, Self, and More; has written the libretto for the opera based on On Gold Mountain, [12] and has helped develop the Family Discovery Gallery for the Autry Museum, which depicts 1930s Los Angeles from the perspective of her father as a seven-year-old boy. Her exhibition On Gold Mountain: A Chinese American Experience was featured in the Autry Museum of Western Heritage,[13] and the Smithsonian.[14] See is also a public speaker.

She has written for and led in many cultural events emphasizing the importance of Los Angeles and Chinatown. Among her awards and recognitions are the Organization of Chinese American Women's 2001 award as National Woman of the Year and the 2003 History Makers Award presented by the Chinese American Museum. See serves as a Los Angeles City Commissioner.[15]



  1. ^ Xian Liu, "Lisa Lenine See." In Asian American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Emmanuel S. Nelson. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. (2000), p. 323
  2. ^ "Lisa See with Daniel Olivas." "The Elegant Variation" (10/03/07).
  3. ^ Amy S. Rosenberg, "Novels Focused on Her Family Lineage", 05/26/2009.
  4. ^ Clara Sturak, "The Last Man of Letters, UCLA Magazine, Spring 2001
  5. ^ O'Hearn, Claudine Chiawei, ed. Half and Half: Writers on Growing Up Biracial and Bicultural. See, Lisa. "The Funeral Banquest", pp. 125-138, Pantheon Books, 1998
  6. ^ Lisa See Papers, 1973-2001. Collection Number 564). Department of Special Collections, Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA
  7. ^ Xian Liu, p. 323
  8. ^ Bookbrowse, "Author Biography"
  9. ^ Dreaming: Hard Luck and Good Times in America, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996
  10. ^ "Biography", Barnes and Noble
  11. ^ Xian Liu, p. 324
  12. ^ "On Gold Mountain: An Opera"
  13. ^ On Gold Mountain: A Chinese American Experience -- the Autry Museum of Western Heritage (2000-2001)
  14. ^ On Gold Mountain: A Chinese American Experience -- the Smithsonian Institution (2001)
  15. ^ "About the Author," Lisa See official web site


  • Fenby, Jonathan. Modern China. New York: HarperCollins Publishers (2008).
  • Gifford, Rob. China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks (2007).
  • Liu, Xian. "Lisa Lenine See". In Asian American Novelists: A Bio-Biblical Critical Sourcebook, pp. 323-331. Ed. Nelson, Emmanuel S. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group Inc. (2000).
  • Pan, Philip P. Out of Mao's Shadow. New York: Simon and Schuster (2008).
  • See, Carolyn. Dreaming: Hard Luck and Good Times in America. Los Angeles: University of California Press (1996).
  • See, Lisa. Peony in Love. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks (2008).

External links


Lisa See on Her Life and Work


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