American Authors Wiki
Mark W. Lee is an American novelist, children's book writer, poet and playwright. He has worked as a war correspondent and some of these real-life experiences have appeared in his fiction.
Lee was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He attended Yale University where he became friends with the Pulitzer prize winning poet and novelist Robert Penn Warren. Lee dedicated his first novel to Warren.
After graduating from Yale in 1973, Lee lived in New York City for several years where he worked as a taxi driver, a language teacher and a security guard. In New York, he became friends with artists Frank Moore and Lillian Mulero. His poetry and nonfiction appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the Times Literary Supplement and a variety of literary journals.
Lee has always done elaborate research for his literary work. When writing a long poem about Henry Hudson, he walked alone down the eastern shore of Hudson Bay. His poem, Hudson Bay, 1611, was published in The Sewanee Review.
In the early 1980s, Lee traveled to East Africa where he worked as a foreign correspondent for Reuters and the Daily Telegraph. During the civil war that followed the fall of dictator Idi Amin, he was one of the few western journalists living in Uganda. Reporting on the poaching of elephants on the northern Ugandan border, Lee was almost killed by Sudanese soldiers.
After being expelled from Uganda for writing about military atrocities, Lee returned to the United States. He found that he could no longer write poetry and began writing plays and novels.
In 2000, Lee traveled to East Timor and wrote articles about the civil war for the Atlantic Monthly and the Los Angeles Times. .
His first play, California Dog Fight, was set at an illegal dog fight the Sacramento delta. It premiered at the Manhattan Theatre Club (1985) and went on to an award-winning production at the Bush Theatre in London.
Lee's next play, Rebel Armies Deep Into Chad, premiered at New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre in 1989. Rebel Armies is about the confrontation between two white journalists and two African prostitutes. It has been performed at many theatres throughout America.
Lee's play, Pirates (1992) premiered at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa where it won the American Express California Playwrights competition.
An American Romance (1997) premiered at the Road Theatre in Los Angeles. It won 12 regional theatre awards.
Lee's play, Century City (1998), premiered at the WPA Theatre in New York.
The Private Room, Lee's controversial play set in the prison cells of Guantanamo Bay, premiered at the New End Theatre in London in 2004.