An Interview with Writer Sam Lee

Staff members interview writers from the Student Faculty Reading Series.

What inspired your piece?

Lunch with Ming is a short story very much derived from my own life experience, or rather, my guesswork of what might happen if I should decide to tell my mother my sexuality. To me the writing process was like scratching the surface of the choice to come out, which I was planning to do eventually yet dreading it for so many reasons. I didn’t give the story a definite resolution since I feared that there wouldn’t be one in life, yet it was still a relief to delve into the truth, even under the protection of fiction.

What have you been writing since then?

Lately I’ve been writing this story based on my friend’s long distance relationship with a guy from Czechia. It is rather inspiring to see someone who has always been rational and tough-minded so easily, even readily blown away by a call, a smile or a thought of the one overseas. My friend has agreed to let me write this story as a gay relationship, which gives me more room to navigate how it feels like. Also because I had always wanted to write about gay relationships but had never been able to for fear of being found out until I started writing in English.

What was the reading experience like?

It was a great experience to read aloud your work in front of a roomful audience. Especially for beginner a writer like I, it is not easy to find readers. And in this way I got to share what I cherished and found in my writing with people who cared. I loved it.

Do you have any take-aways from the reading?

I read two times last year actually. The first time I learned by my own mistake that you should not speak to the microphone too closely. Nobody can hear you clearly that way.

What are you reading now?

I just finished Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman. It was the most honest, most naked, and most affecting book I have ever read.

What is some advice you would give to someone who is thinking about reading for the series?

Be yourself and enjoy this moment. The audience are here because they care about literature, they understand what you do, and they appreciate what you have to offer.

Sam Lee is an aspiring writer who writes both in Chinese and in English. To him writing is the best way of making sense of this crazy beautiful world, and of appreciating humanity at its truest. He wishes to see beauty even when it is not pretty through stories—What did they say? “Take your broken heart, turn it into art.” His favourite writer is Alice Munro.

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