Chang-rae Lee’s “On Such a Full Sea”

Chang-rae Lee book cover

Chang-rae Lee book cover

Pulitzer-prize finalist Chang-Rae Lee tells me about his latest novel, working with students, and the potential for going into writing as a money-making career (his advice: don’t).

About Doug Dangler

Current: Host of Craft on WCBE, 90.5 FM, central Ohio's NPR station. Former: creator, host, and producer of Writers Talk
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3 Responses to Chang-rae Lee’s “On Such a Full Sea”

  1. Thanks, Doug, for the Craft interview this week, and thanks to your guest for being so open about the career challenges facing writers (young and old).

    I wonder, though, if not talking about those career challenges is in some way failing to adequately prepare students? Or are we too complacent in accepting the challenges as necessary evils rather than working to manage the challenges and, dare I hope, mitigate them?

    I work with creative entrepreneurs (artists, writers, performers, etc.) on building financial literacy, and many of them lament their lack of preparation for the business side of their work (although they are incredibly well prepared for the technical/creative aspects of the work, echoing what Mr. Lee said about focusing on the work). Many institutions (OSU and CCAD locally and others beyond Columbus) are incorporating “entrepreneurial” education into the curriculum, which is generally met with enthusiasm from the students.

    By talking openly about the challenges, instead of focusing exclusively on the work, it seems we can give our students all the tools they will need to build sustainable careers, no matter what creative twists and turns they take.

    • ddangler says:

      I thought the same thing during the interview. But I can see his point that the students should already know what they’re getting into. The second sentence in my acceptance letter to grad school in English years ago said that the academic job market for graduate English degrees was bad (it’s awful) and I assume that similar things are told to creative writers: actually anyone going into graduate work in the humanities probably gets some version of that. Or at least they should. 🙂

      However, I’m also persuaded by your concerns about the lack of financial preparedness many humanities students have. One of my most impressive student interns a few years ago got a degree in art and in economics, which I thought was very savvy. I look forward to not hearing stories from her about signing a bad contract on the hood of a car after a show.

      Perhaps you’d consider doing a Craft interview about how students can become more financially savvy?

  2. Doug, I’d be honored to continue the conversation about financial literacy among writers (and other creative professionals) on Craft! Thanks.

    (And your acceptance letter really included such a downer?!? I’m imagining something along the lines of, “Congratulations! And I’m sorry.”)

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