“I am always thinking about my kid…I need to learn how to separate.  To deal.”    ~Min Jin Lee, author Pachinko (Grand Central Publishing)

Standing cream-colored blouse 2


PP: Describe your life in the context of writing, parenting and other employment?

MJL: I am a writer.  My only son is 20 years old. He is in college in the West Coast.  I live in Harlem.

PP: How do you integrate creative writing into your parenting/work responsibilities?

MJL:    Lately, I’m on tour.  I write on the road.

PP:  What support/resources have you had access to?

MJL:   When my son was younger, I had 15 hours a week of childcare, then later on, he went to school, so I wrote then.  I don’t have much of a social life. I never went out when Sam lived at home.  The most rewarding thing about being a writing parent is I have great respect for time.

PP:  What’s challenging about it?

MJL:  I am always thinking about my kid. Even when he is in college. I’m pathetic.  I need to get a life. To learn how to separate. To deal.

PP: What advice would you offer other parents who write?

MJL:   I wish I had had more kids. I really like them.  I can’t really offer any tips – I don’t know what I’m doing.  Parenting and writing changed me as my children have grown – I admit I was wrong. About most things.

PP:  What else would you like to add on this subject?

MJL:   I think parenting gave me far more compassion for other parents, because it’s a special tribe of people who have significantly less attention capacity than non-parents.

 * * *

Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko was a finalist for the National Book Award. A New York Times bestseller, Pachinko was a Top 10 Books of the Year for The New York Times, USA Today, BBC, and the New York Public Library. Pachinko was on over 75 best books of the year lists, including NPR, PBS, and CNN. Lee’s debut novel Free Food for Millionaires was a Top 10 Books of the Year for The Times, NPR’s Fresh Air and USA Today.


The Pen Parentis Research Project is a series of interviews with parent authors in order to learn how they mange time, publish, earn a living, nurture creative community, and care for their kids. Managed by Mary Harpin, the project will culminate in a book with stories, data, and helpful information that other parent writers can apply to their own lives.