What My Korean Father Taught Me About Defending Myself in America

“And he said something I would never forget. ‘The best fighter in tae kwon do never fights,’ he said. ‘He always finds another way.”

Source: GQ
Published: May 14, 2021
Length: 14 minutes (3,680 words)

‘Our Stories Are Still Filtered Through Whiteness’

“White people still drive the narrative about Asian Americans. We have yet to have control over our own stories.”

Source: GEN
Published: Mar 15, 2021
Length: 12 minutes (3,194 words)

How to Unlearn Everything

“When it comes to writing the “other,” what questions are we not asking?”

Source: Vulture
Published: Oct 30, 2019
Length: 9 minutes (2,461 words)

The First Time I Moved to New York

The fantasies Alexander Chee had of New York before he moved there didn’t fully prepare him for what it was like to love the city.

Source: Longreads
Published: Oct 29, 2018
Length: 9 minutes (2,448 words)

The Changeling

A personal essay in which How to Write an Autobiographical Novel author Alexander Chee considers how answering the question, “What are you?” turned him into a writer.

Source: Longreads
Published: Apr 17, 2018
Length: 15 minutes (3,921 words)

My Inheritance Was My Father’s Last Lesson To Me And I Am Still Learning It

When Alexander Chee’s father died at the age of 43 he didn’t leave behind a will, and his estate was divided among his wife and three children. When he turned 18, Chee was bequeathed a trust, and the first thing he bought was something he thought his father would want for him — a black Alfa Romeo.

Source: BuzzFeed
Published: Jan 28, 2018
Length: 18 minutes (4,530 words)

Park Chan-wook, the Man Who Put Korean Cinema on the Map

Novelist Alexander Chee profiles Korean director Park Chan-wook as part of T: The New York Times Style Magazine‘s “The Greats” series, which also includes six other cover profiles: Roxane Gay on hip hop artist Nicki Minaj, Hanya Yanagihara on designer Dries Van Noten, Lin Manuel Miranda on lyricist Stephen Sondheim, Manohla Dargis on actor Amy Adams, Dave Eggers on writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Randy Kennedy on sculptor Claes Oldenburg.

Published: Oct 16, 2017
Length: 12 minutes (3,102 words)

The Poisoning

Alexander Chee reflects on his affinity for gin and how over the years — in its various cocktail permutations alongside vermouth in martinis and negronis — it has more than kept him company, becoming “almost a travel companion.”

Source: Tin House
Published: Jul 25, 2017
Length: 14 minutes (3,548 words)

On a Remote Greek Island, Learning to Take a ‘Real’ Vacation

In creating a routine “entirely alien to his normal life,” Alexander Chee attempts a real vacation from his work as a writer. As he sketches his way around Sifnos, capturing both the “least famous” Greek island and his memories of it in a Moleskine notebook, he learns how to draw fresh strength to fuel his work.

Published: Jul 12, 2017
Length: 11 minutes (2,837 words)

In Spain, Secrets and a Possible Betrayal

When the New York Times asked authors to share stories of when love intersected with travel, Alexander Chee recalls a summer in Granada, Spain, with M. — his boyfriend at the time — who betrayed Chee at a local hammam. “He thought I wanted monogamy more than him, and I didn’t. And I couldn’t forgive that I didn’t get to choose.”

Published: Apr 19, 2017
Length: 7 minutes (1,803 words)