Marie Myung-Ok Lee | Longreads | May 2018 | 15 minutes (3,630 words)

“Walls are built in the mind.” — Wole Soyinka

“The whole country is outraged and outspoken and you should be too

because if you’re not, then you’re not doing your part.”

— Rachel Coye, “New Year”

As a writer, a books columnist for the literary site The Millions, the co-founder of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and a literary citizen with prolific and brilliant friends whose readings and performances I could probably ink every night on my calendar, let’s say I go to a lot of book signings. Some have food, some have wine. Some have people who wander in and ask irrelevant questions with disarming earnestness.

At one reading where I acted as interlocutor, the novelist I was interviewing took out a package of Swiss chocolate she’d brought with her from Geneva, and instead…

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