Panelist, Lan Cao
Born and raised in Vietnam until she came to America at the age of thirteen, Lan Cao has distinguished herself in remarkably diverse ways. A politics major at MHC, she went on to earn a law degree from Yale. She secured a prestigious clerkship with a U.S. district judge, then worked at a large New York law firm before becoming an international law professor at Brooklyn Law School. As if these accomplishments weren't enough, Cao recently published a novel, Monkey Bridge, which the New York Times hailed for its "authoritative and subtly nuanced delineation of character and place."She has also coauthored Everything You Need to Know About Asian American History. Currently she is writing a love story set in China and New York City's Chinatown.
Writing novels wasn't something Lan ever planned to do. It grew naturally out of her need to express herself during a difficult time. "I began writing when my mother got sick in 1992." What began as jotted down impressions developed into a full-born novel, and by 1996 this lawyer/law professor was on book tours across the country.
For Lan Cao, there is no division between work and the rest of her life. "I feel very fortunate, because I'm paid to think about issues that I'm curious about."