May-lee Chai was born in Redlands, California the eldest daughter of an artisticly gifted Irish American mother and Shanghai born political scientist father. May-lee has lived in fourteen states and four countries.
May-lee Chai is a writer and educator. May-lee is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in Literature.
In addition to her books, she has published numerous short stories in journals, magazines and anthologies as well as essays and journalism.
She majored in French and Chinese Studies from Grinnell College in Iowa. May-lee received her M.A. in East Asian Studies from Yale University.
She also completed a second Master's in English-Creative Writing from the University of Colorado in Boulder. She has studied at universities in France, China, and Taiwan, and likes to study new languages.
She has taught at various universities, including San Francisco State University, the University of Wyoming, and Amherst College in Massachusetts.
Little known facts:
She once walked to Burma from the Xishuang Banna Autonomous Region of China's Yunnan Province.
She has waded in the Mekong.
She accidentally slid down a mountain side while visiting Buddhist holy sites in Henan province. Only her pride was injured. She sat in the shade of a 1000 year old pagoda and did not attain enlightenment.
She spent most of her adolescence on a farm. She believes Ogata Issey is a genius.
She is addicted to Korean soap operas. She actually knows how to cook though few people have ever witnessed this.