Lisa See

in Conversation with Kathryn Belden

Recorded May 3rd, 2020

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Lisa See in conversation with Kathryn Belden
Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

Lisa See was born in Paris February 18, 1955, but has spent many years in Los Angeles, especially Los Angeles Chinatown. Her mother, Carolyn See, was also a writer and novelist. Her autobiography provides insight into her daughter’s life. Lisa See graduated with a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University in 1979.
See was West Coast correspondent for Publishers Weekly (1983–1996); has written articles for Vogue, Self, and More; has written the libretto for the opera based on On Gold Mountain, 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, and the Smithsonian. See is also a public speaker.

“Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.”

Lisa See, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Lisa’s books include On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family, a detailed account of See’s family history, and the novels Flower Net, The Interior, Dragon Bones, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love and Shanghai Girls, which made it to the 2010 New York Times bestseller list. Both Shanghai Girls and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan received honorable mentions from the Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature.
Lisa’s novel, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, is a powerful story about circumstances, culture, and distance among the Akha people of Xishuangbanna, China. It paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond of family.
Her most recent novel, The Island of Sea Women, is a story about female friendship and family secrets on Jeju Island before, during and in the aftermath of the Korean War. It was released on March 5, 2019.

Visit the Book Passage website to have any of Lisa’s books delivered right to your door.

You’re sure to enjoy these Book Passage favorites:

The Island of Sea Women


The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane


The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane


Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel


A personal note from Lisa See. 

Sent May 5th, following her Conversations with Authors session.


Thank you to all those who joined in today from near and far. 

It was wonderful for me to have a conversation with two people who I admire greatly—the amazing Elaine Petrocelli and the thoughtful Kathy Belden. 

For the epigraph for Howard’s End, E.M. Forster wrote, Only connect.  These words seem more important and more vital than ever. As I think about these strange times, I’m heartened and encouraged by the endurance of women like Elaine and Kathy to meet difficulties, to persist, to keep life regular life going for all of us, and to help us connect. 

These characteristics are reflected in the books I love and that I’ve been reading.

We didn’t have a chance to talk about this, but for comfort I’ve also been rereading some of my favorite books from childhood:

– Lisa