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Marie Myung-Ok Lee, 2006 Award Winner

Marie Myung-Ok Lee is a Korean-American writer whose area of focus in 2006 was the environment's impact on human health. At the time writer-in-residence at the Center for the Study of Race & Ethnicity in America at Brown University, Lee was working on her second book, The United States of Autism, which examined the relationship between increased environmental pollution and mandated vaccines on autism -- a disorder so difficult to endure that parents of autistic children have a 90 percent divorce rate.

"The burden of neurotoxic chemicals and heavy metals in our environment is only increasing," said Lee. "The United States of Autism seeks to explore whether today's generation of children with varying forms of autism, Asperger's and ADHD are indeed canaries in a coal mine."


Sections of the work in progress had been published in Newsweek and in Brain, Child, earning Lee a fellowship at the MacDowell Colony.

Lee's essays have appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Norton Anthology's New Worlds of Literature, among other publications. She received a Fulbright fellowship to research her novel, Somebody's Daughter (Beacon Press, 2005).

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