Sherry Quan Lee approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. Her journey as a writer began before she was born; history plays an important part in who we are (her mother is “Negro” and her father is Chinese). Lines on her curriculum vitae show “opportunities and blessings” that focus and center her life as a writer. Between the lines are the stories she writes that are the process, the plot that literally move her forward. She is the artist and the art: textured, vibrant—visible.


Writing to Save Your Life

What makes you uncomfortable? What makes you afraid? What makes you angry? What keeps you from moving forward? What silences you? Saving a Life is a holistic mapping process that includes reading, writing, and embracing our identity in all of its complexity in order to understand and challenge social or cultural obstacles to living healthy and productive lives. It’s looking in a mirror and seeing beauty, strength, wit, and wisdom. It’s looking at each other and seeing the same. It’s understanding the wisdom of the women who have gone before us. It’s monkey mind. It’s conversation. It’s taking a risk to love ourselves. It’s crafting our lives by crafting our words. It’s claiming the past and imagining the future with no rules of craft or politics except the ones we, individually, choose, the ones that work for us. This workshop will create a safe space for truth telling and moving mountains. Stories that save our lives will enter the world like angels flapping their wings, creating music, something like jazz. Someone will be listening.

Storytelling will be the backbone of the process as each participant recognizes the truth and substance of her own journey and each other’s journeys.

This workshop is based on my book, How to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman’s life.


What does the map of your life look like? Are there stop signs, detours, back roads, freeways, and tunnels? Do you travel one particular road over and over again? Are you writing that one story over and over again? Does your collection of stories need closure? Is closure possible? Memoir can be the stories remembered as you glance back at your life. Memoir can be the connection, the collection of those stories. Memoir can be your stories written in poetic form. Memoir can be poetry enhanced with pictures, and other visual materials.

In this workshop, you will explore the healing power of poetry as memoir by working toward a chapbook or manuscript draft from a series of your own poems. We will examine the stories that map your life in order to discover the theme of your memoir. Your theme will be your writing prompt to write more poems. Emphasis will be on overall theme, contents, and format.

Host an Author Party: Reading, Q & A, and Writing

Tired of plastic ware, jewelry, or cosmetic parties? Then be the first of your friends to host a private “Host an Author” party. Three hours of literary engagement.

Invite 8-12 writer or non-writer friends, serve your favorite appetizers and refreshments, and the writer/teacher does the rest.

Cost and references upon request.



University of Minnesota, College of Continuing Education, Personal Enrichment Programs, Split Rock Arts Program
Metropolitan State University, College of Arts and Sciences, Writing
Asian American Renaissance


University of Minnesota, MFA, June 1996–Creative Writing, Poetry & Memoir, 4.0 GPA
University of Minnesota, BA, 1985—Creative Writing, Women and Multicultural Studies
North Hennepin Community College, AA, 1983, honors


Introduction to Creative Writing, Advanced Creative Writing, Composition, Advanced Composition, Written and Visual Communication, Women of Color Literature, Diversity in the U.S. / Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN; Metropolitan State University Postsecondary, South High School; University of Minnesota, Women’s Studies, Minneapolis, MN; College of St. Catherine, Minneapolis, MN


Intermedia Arts/SASE: The Write Place; Loft Literary Center; The Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Weisman Museum; Black Bear Crossing; Richard Green Elementary School; Metropolitan Cultural Arts Center; Northside Neighborhood Services, etc.


I spent most of my life feeling as though I was a writer and loving to write, but never allowing myself the joy or pleasure of exploring the possibility or potential of my ability. My first experience working with Sherry Quan Lee was through a writer’s workshop. Her passion, skill and encouragement brought me from my initial shy and awkward poems to completing a prose manuscript. As an unknown I wasn’t sure what to do, but her recommendations and the opportunities she affords her students as writers continue to serve me well. Her influence opened a whole new world for me and every day I am blessed with an ever expanding world of writing. I participated in her workshops, classes and hired Sherry as a writing mentor. I have not been disappointed. She is a valued member of the writing community and she is loved and respected for her own writing as well as her teaching. All I had to do was go back to some of my first poems and realize I have grown in all of my writing, reading and creative pursuits. A part of me is complete.

Sandra J. Newbauer
Mankato, Minnesota


Writers of Color Readings at Patrick’s Cabaret; Asian American Cabaret; Asian American Renaissance Showcase; Vulva Riot; Journal of the Asian American Renaissance Readings; SASE About Town Readings at Black Bear Crossing; Women of Color Writers; Cave Canem salon, reading, and fundraiser; Poetry Reading for Nellie Wong; Surprise birthday party and community reading for Nikki Giovanni; Women’s Week Poetry Contest and Reading; Pre-publication benefit, I Am What You Fear I Am, poems by Deborah Kelly.


Participant Cave Canem Master Classes and Cave Canem Summer Retreat for Black Poets; DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD, North Hennepin Community College; CHINESE BLACKBIRD, Nominated by Asian American Renaissance for Minnesota Book Awards; Nominated for the Rusty Barceló Award, University of Minnesota (this award acknowledges and honors individuals for their efforts to foster a campus environment that values and actively supports a multicultural University community in which women faculty, staff, students thrive and excel. Of particular interest are efforts that impact the climate for women of color); and, nominated for the Josie Johnson Award for Social Justice; participant Loft Literary Center Asian Inroads Program; Mentor Loft Literary Center Asian Inroads Program; Selected Participant Asian American Renaissance Writers Bloc 2, & 3; Certificate of Outstanding Achievement, Minnesota Working Women/9to5; Certificate of Recognition, YWCA; Certificate of Appreciation, University-YW; Volunteer of the Quarter, Multiple Sclerosis Society (for LIVELY KIDS WINNING WORDS); Lorraine Hansberry Award in Recognition of Literary Achievement and Excellence; Certificate of Outstanding Development of the Interracial Writers Workshop, Northside Neighborhood Services; Josephine Kingman College Award Winner, Chaparral Poets; first place poetry division of North Hennepin Community College literary contest



POEMS Published in

Minnesota Magazine (U of M Alumni Magazine); Cave Canem Five; Drum Voices Review; Spirits, Myths and Dreams: Stories in Transit, Journal of the Asian American Renaissance; Loonfeather; A Woman’s Place; Slate; Wolf Head Quarterly; Sticky Rice, Journal of the Asian American Renaissance; Gypsy Cab; COLORS; RED FLOWER, The Crossing Press; The Circle; A Poet Black and On Being Black, Guild Press, etc.

PROSE Published in

Body of Stories, Journal of the Asian American Renaissance; sexualORIENTATIONS, Journal of the Asian American Renaissance; Mother Journeys: Feminists Write About Mothering; Sojourner; Minnesota Daily; COLORS; View from the Loft


Body of Stories, the fifth journal of the Asian American Renaissance, and Spirits, Myths and Dreams: Stories in Transit, the fourth journal of the Asian American Renaissance; I AM WHO YOU FEAR I AM, poems by Deborah Kelly, (distributed by Kitchen Table Women of Color Press) CORN SONGS, poems by Virginia Allery (Turtle Mountain Reservation) ,Guild Press and CHROMOSOMES AND GENES: AN INTERRACIAL ANTHOLOGY, 1982, Guild Press


“On Being Black,” Heritage Park, reunion and memorial; Patrick’s Cabaret, “Women Got the Beat” collaboration with Lori-Young Williams, also Carolyn Holbrook, Sun Yung Shin, and Ann Freeman; The Kitty Kat Klub; Loft Literary Center, Tribute to Godzilla; North Hennepin Community College, featured writer; Loft Literary Center Cave Canem Reading featuring Nikky Finney and Cave Canem poets; Center for Independent Artists, Asian American Renaissance, Publication Reading, Body of Stories; Intermedia Arts, Vulva Riot, DIVA performance; Amazon Book Store, Women of Color Reading; Babylon Café, Mothers’ Day Reading; Amazon Book Store, Publication Reading with David Mura, CHINESE BLACKBIRD; Drum Voices Review, Robyne Robinson’s Gallery; National Women in Education Teleconference, University of Minnesota; Cave Canem Reunion, Clef Club, Philadelphia; Women of Color Writers, Black Bear Crossing; Women of Color Writers, University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse, Women of Color Conference; St. Paul Calls, Artist Quarter; Blu e Moon Café; Ginkgo Coffeehouse; Bryant Lake Theater; Orr Books; Weisman Art Museum; Hungry Mind Bookstore; YWCA; District 202; Powderhorn Pork; African American Cultural Center; Northside Neighborhood Services; All People’s Coffehouse; Carleton College; etc.


“Write on Radio,” KFAI; Southern Minnesota Poetry Society, Mankato, MN; Northwest Writers’ Union; The College of St. Catherine, Asian Pacific American Women’s Poetry Class; Metropolitan State University, Panel Member, Process Over Product: The Life Journey of Creative Writing; Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 30th Anniversary, Weisman Art Museum, Storytelling; Women’s Studies class, University of Minnesota; Hopkins Art Center, Meet The Author; PAAVE, Asian American Renaissance CHINESE BLACKBIRD book discussion; La Chicana class, University of Minnesota; Literature of American Minorities class, University of Minnesota; Dialogues with Contemporary Writers, Diana Chang, University of Minnesota; etc.

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