Diane Lee

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Diane Lee
Daegu, South Korea
EducationB.A.&M.A. (German language and German literature)
Alma materKyungpook National University
Seoul National University
Known forBecame the first immigrant (Canadian citizen) writer to win Segye Literature Award
AwardsSegye Literature Award

Diane Lee(author) (born in 1974) is a Korean-Canadian writer.


Diane Lee (다이앤 리, Diane Shoar) was born in Daegu, South Korea in 1974 and moved to Vancouver, Canada in 2001. She received B.A. in German language and German literature from Kyungpook National University, M.A. in the same field from Seoul National University and continued Ph.D. in the same field at University of Bonn, Seoul National University and University of British Columbia, but didn't complete Ph.D. program.[1] [2]

Diane Lee wrote her first Korean novel Roya (로야) in response to a car accident she had experienced several years ago dealing with the source of the hidden pain.[3] With Roya, she won the Grand prize of Segye Literature Award (세계문학상) in 2019 and became the first immigrant (Canadian citizen) writer to win.[4]


The judges of the 15th Segye Literature Award evaluated Diane Lee's autobiographical novel Roya as "a work in which a tense narrator reproduces meticulous sentences and psychological realities that make one sentence impossible to skip proves a novel as a language art".[5] "Among the countless entries from all over the world for a long time, one finally planted a flag in the land of Korean literature. Diane Lee's work expands the foundation of Korean literature." the judges remarked.[6]

The story of Roya is about a Korean-Canadian woman who recovers her life by examining her physical and emotional pain arising from her parents' relationship in the process of treating a car accident.[7] Her native language is Korean, but she said "it was not easy to write a novel in Korean amid foreign life over twenty years" at the media conference on April 16, 2019.[8] She writes her text in Korean and English simultaneously; "After writing a sentence in Korean, I translate it into English, make sure the message is delivered properly, and then move back to Korean. I want to find middle ground of the multi cultures and pursue universality," she said.[9]

As a sequel of Roya, Juya was published in December 2019.The story gets intensified and expanded through a new inflection point in Juya. In Juya, the endangered relationship with the mother gets cut off and the Iranian mother-in-law joins as a family member.[10] Through Roya and Juya, Diane Lee questions about the definitions of convention, consciousness, reality and boundary. Diane Lee's work reflects her diasporic background: multiculturalism, multilingualism, multi-dimensions, genre-crossing.[11]


  • The 15th Segye Literature Award (2019)

Works in Korean

  • Roya (로야), 2019 ISBN|9791161570532
  • Juya (주야), 2019 ISBN|9791161570839


  1. 교통사고를 계기로 마음의 상처와 대면하다 [Faced the hidden pain in the wake of a car accident (in Korean)[1] 2019-04-19 The Hankyoreh, Retrieved 2020-02-13
  2. 다이앤리 "아픈 가족사, 드러내도 숨겨도 아프다"[Diane Lee "Painful Family History regardless of revealing or hiding (in Korean)[2] 2019-04-16 Newsis, Retrieved 2020-02-13
  3. 내게 상처준 부모...스스로 보듬어 안은 '병든 과거' [Hurting Parents...Embracing 'Sick Past' (in Korean)[3] 2019-04-17 Munhwa Ilbo, Retrieved 2020-02-13
  4. 한국계 외국인 문단 데뷔...K-문학 외연 확장[Korean-Foreigner debuts in Korean Literary Circles...Expansion of K-Literature (in Korean)[4] 2019-04-16 Segye Ilbo, Retrieved 2020-02-11
  5. 한국계 캐나다인 주부 내면 다룬 ‘로야’/치밀한 문장·긴장감 있는 서사 빼어나["Roya", deals with Korean-Canadian Housewife's state of mind/Elaborate sentences·Tense Narratives(in Korean)[5] Segye Literature Award Website, Retrieved 2020-02-11
  6. 개성있는 문장·상상력 만나 소설의 새 경로 탐색 [Unique Sentences·Searching for a New Path of Novels (in Korean)[6] 2019-02-01 Segye Ilbo, Retrieved 2020-02-13
  7. 세계문학상 대상 ‘로야’…“가족은 전쟁터에서 낙원으로 진화해야해요” ["Roya", Grand prize winner of Segye Literature Award..."Family has to evolve from battlefield to paradise."] (in Korean)[7] 2019-04-19 Hankook Ilbo, Retrieved 2020-02-11
  8. "자전적소설 '로야' 이야기는 99% 사실이에요"["The story of the autobiographical novel "Roya" is 99 percent non-fictional."] (in Korean)[8] 2020-04-16 Maeil Business Newspaper, Retrieved 2020-02-11
  9. "쓰지 않으면 회복할 수 없을 것 같았다"["It seemed to be impossible to recover If I didn't write."] (in Korean)[9] 2020-04-16 Kyunghyang Shinmun, Retrieved 2020-02-11
  10. 주야[Juya] (in Korean)[10] 2020-01-21 Daeguilbo, Retrieved 2020-02-11
  11. 다이앤리"캐나다에서 모국어로 글을 쓴다는 것은"[Diane Lee "Writing in my mother-tongue in Canada] (in Korean)[11] 2020-01-22 채널예스24, Retrieved 2020-02-11

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