Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

October 28, 2002

Whitworth's 2002-03 Ada Redmond Reading to Feature Acclaimed Author Gus Lee

Gus Lee, author of four novels including China Boy (Dutton 1991) and an upcoming memoir, Chasing Hepburn: A Memoir of Shanghai, Hollywood, and a Chinese Family's Fight for Freedom (Harmony Books, 2003), is Whitworth College's 2002-03 Ada Redmond Reader.

Lee will present a business-ethics lecture, "My Hair Is on Fire! Is This Business As Usual?" on Thursday, Nov.14, at 7 p.m. in the Music Building Recital Hall at Whitworth College. Lee will read from his works on Friday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. in the Hixson Union Building Café at Whitworth. Following the reading Lee will sign his books, which will be available for purchase. Both the lecture and reading are free and open to the public. For more information, please call (509) 777-3253.

Heralded as "a rewarding, ambitious memoir" by Publisher's Weekly, Lee's Chasing Hepburn begins in 1909 with Lee's forward-thinking grandfather rescuing Gus Lee's mother from the Chinese foot-binding ritual; his actions cause the family to be irreconcilably exiled from ancient Chinese tradition. Later, Lee's father, a pilot who tried to kill Mao Tse-tung, flees to America with his family in search of their screen idol, Katharine Hepburn.

Lee's new memoir resonates with vibrant detail and effective dialogue, according to a Publisher's Weekly review, in which the critic also says that perhaps Lee's greatest accomplishment in Chasing Hepburn is his ability to "...deftly move between the personalities of his family tree and the family's intimate moments, and his observations of Chinese cultural history."

Lee's ear for dialogue and his vivid portrayal of the complexities of culture and society, and the intricacies of family relationships and the law, have made his four novels favorites among critics.

Lee's first novel, China Boy (Dutton, 1991), which is based on his childhood, was a Literary Guild selection, a New York Times Best Novel for 1991, an American Library Association Best for the Last 50 Years; it is currently in its 15th printing. Lee and the producer Lee Mendelson co-wrote a China Boy screenplay for a 2002 film.

Lee's Honor and Duty (Knopf, 1994) was a Book of the Month Club selection and a Chicago Tribune Best 10 Novels of 1994, was required reading at West Point Academy, and has been optioned for a film. Tiger's Tail (Knopf 1996) was made into an AudioScope book that was read on tape by Tony Award winner B.D. Wong and was optioned for a film by Twentieth Century Fox. No Physical Evidence (Ballantine, 1998) won an Independent Publisher Book Award.

Prior to becoming a full-time author in 1993, following the success of China Boy, Lee conducted notable careers in law and the military. He attended West Point and served in the U.S. Army as a drill sergeant and paratrooper. Lee earned B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of California at Davis, where he also served as assistant dean of students for the Educational Opportunity Program and project coordinator of the Asian American Studies Program.

After receiving his law degree in 1976, he re-joined the U.S. Army and served as defense counsel and command judge advocate. During the Vietnam War, Lee served in Korea, where he later returned to investigate recruits who were suspected of being foreign agents. His experience in Korea served as the basis for his novel Tiger's Tail.

After concluding his military service, Lee returned to California where he worked as an attorney and legal educator. He has served as a corporate vice president, senior executive for the State Bar of California, and deputy directory of the California District Attorneys Association. He has provided leadership consulting to corporations including Bank of America, Kaiser Permanente, MCI and Lucent; has addressed the National Conference of Supreme Court Justices; is the keynote speaker for West Point's National Conference on Ethics in America; and is an adjunct staff member for the Center for Creative Leadership. Lee resides with his family in Colorado.

Whitworth Professor Emeritus Howard Redmond established the Ada Redmond Readings in 1988 to commemorate his mother's love of literature and poetry. Since its inception, the series has brought some of the finest regional writers to the Whitworth campus, writers such as William Stafford, Ruth Kirk, Sherman Alexie, Joy Harjo, and Tess Gallagher.


Doug Sugano, professor of English, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4212 or dsugano@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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