Min Jin Lee

Elena Seibert

Min Jin Lee

Monday, June 15, 2020 7:30 pm

06/15/2020 7:30 pm 06/15/2020 America/Los_Angeles Min Jin Lee https://lectures.org/event/min-jin-lee/ Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

At Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

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Literary Arts

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED. Min Jin Lee is the author of Pachinko, a sweeping, four-generation epic celebrated as the first novel written for an adult audience in English that focuses on Japanese-Korean culture. A finalist for the 2017 National Book Award in fiction, Pachinko is “a beautifully crafted story of love, loss, determination, luck, and perseverance” (Library Journal).

The Q&A portion of the evening will be moderated by E.J. Koh, Seattle-based writer and author of the memoir The Magical Language of Others.

Both of Lee’s novels focus on Korean diaspora—while not connected by characters, her first two books, Free Food for Millionaires and Pachinko, are part of a trilogy of historical fiction exploring what it means to be Korean in other cultures. Her debut, Free Food For Millionaires, tells the story of a first generation Korean American girl living in Queens, navigating the intersection of her traditional family and her social circle. Released in 2007, Free Food for Millionaires was named one of the Top 10 Novels of the Year by NPR’s Fresh Air and USA Today.

Following the publication of her first book, Lee lived in Tokyo for a year while researching for Pachinko, interviewing an array of Korean Japanese people who suffered hardships and prejudice when resettling in their new home. Praised for its nuanced method of teasing out complex historical truths, her second novel appeared on the Best Fiction lists for the GuardianEsquire, and the Chicago Review of Books, among others. Pachinko was also named one of the Best 10 Books of 2017 by the New York Times.

Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea and moved to the United States as a seven-year-old with her family. She grew up in Queens, New York, and she received her undergraduate degree in history from Yale College. She then went on to study law at Georgetown University and worked as a corporate lawyer, before turning to writing full time.

Lee has received the fellowship of fiction from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Lee is currently working on the third and final installment, a novel about hagwons, or private institutions common in South Korea that are intended to supplement regular education. Currently, Lee is a Writer-in-Residence at Amherst College.

E.J. Koh, SAL’s moderator for the evening, is the author of A Lesser Love, winner of the Pleiades Editors Poetry Prize, and critically acclaimed memoir The Magical Language of Others. Her poems, translations, and stories have appeared in Academy of American Poets, Boston Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Prairie Schooner, Slate, World Literature Today, among others. Koh completed an MFA in Poetry and Literary Translation in the Korean and the Japanese at Columbia University in New York. Recipient of fellowships from Kundiman, the MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center, and others, her work has been featured in PEN America, The Stranger, and TIME magazine.

Event Details

Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

200 University Street
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Know Before You Go

Don't have your tickets?

Most tickets have been emailed, so be sure to check your inbox for an email from boxoffice@lectures.org. Call us at 206-621-2230 x10 if you can’t find them.

Have a question for the speaker?

Want to ask Min Jin Lee something? Send your question to SAL’s Associate Director at rahoogs@lectures.org—it might be asked onstage!


University Book Store will have copies of Lee’s work available for purchase at their table in the lobby.

Patrons & Grand Patrons, you're invited to Happy Hour!

Patrons & Grand Patrons, join us for light bites and wine on the Promenade at Benaroya Hall from 6:30 to 7:15.

Transportation & Parking

This event will be held in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, the largest event space at Benaroya Hall. 

Benaroya Hall is located at 200 University Street, directly across Second Avenue from the Seattle Art Museum. The public entrance to Benaroya Hall is along Third Avenue.

By Car

  • From Southbound I-5
    Take the Union Street exit (#165B). Continue onto Union Street and proceed approximately five blocks to Second Avenue. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5
    Exit left onto Seneca Street (exit #165). Proceed two blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Seneca Street exit and move into the left lane. Turn left onto First Avenue and proceed one block. Take the next right (at the Hammering Man sculpture) onto University Street. Continue up the hill two blocks to Third Avenue. Turn left onto Third Avenue. Continue to the next block and turn left onto Union Street. Make the next left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Southbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Denny Way/Downtown exit. Keep right and cross over Denny Way onto Wall Street. Proceed approximately five blocks and turn left onto Second Avenue. Continue south on Second Avenue approximately eight blocks. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.

By Public Transit (Bus & Light Rail)
Benaroya Hall is served by numerous bus routes. Digital reader boards along Third Avenue display real-time bus arrival information. For details and trip planning tools, call Metro Rider Information at 206.553.3000 (voice) or 206.684.1739 (TDD), or visit Metro online. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, served by light rail, has a stop just below the Hall (University Street Station).

The 430-car underground garage at Benaroya Hall provides direct access from the enclosed parking area into the Hall via elevators leading to The Boeing Company Gallery. Enter the garage on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street. Maximum vehicle height is 6’8″. Blink charging stations are available for electric vehicles. The event rate is $16.

Parking is also available at:

  • The Cobb Building (enter on University Street between Third and Fourth avenues).
  • The Russell Investments Center (enter on Union Street between First and Second avenues).
  • There are many other garages within a one-block radius of Benaroya Hall, along with numerous on-street parking options.


Open Captioning is an option for people who have hearing loss, where a captioning screen displaying the words that are spoken or sung is placed on stage. This option is present at every event at Benaroya Hall in our 2019/20 Season.

Assisted Listening Devices (ALDs) are devices that people with hearing loss use in conjunction with their hearing device (hearing aids or cochlear implants). Benaroya Hall has an infrared hearing system, which transmits sound by light beams. Headsets are available in The Boeing Company Gallery coat check and the Head Usher stations in both lobbies.

Sign Language Interpretation is available upon request for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals. To make a request for ASL interpretation, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10. Please note: we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure interpretation.

Wheelchair Accessible Seating and Accessible Restrooms are available in all sections at our venues, and our venues are fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. Guide and service dogs are also welcome. Among other features, Benaroya Hall has designated parking spaces adjacent to elevators in their parking garage. Elevators with Braille signage go to all levels within the Hall. A unisex restroom is also available. For more details on their accessibility features, click here.

We are pleased to offer these accessibility services at our venues, and they are provided at no additional cost to ticket holders. Please contact us with any questions and feedback about how we can be more accessible and inclusive.  Our Patron Services Manager is available at boxoffice@lectures.org, or Monday-Thursday from 10:00am – 5:00pm, and Fridays from 10:00am – 1:00pm, at 206.621.2230×10.


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