47th Annual MLK Celebration Leadership Award Recipient: Helen Elaine Lee

Helen Elaine Lee

Director, MIT Program in Women's & Gender Studies

Professor of Fiction Writing, MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing

47th Annual MLK Leadership Award

Helen Elaine Lee
Photo: Allegra Boverman

Helen Elaine Lee’s first novel, The Serpent's Gift, was published by Atheneum and her second novel, Water Marked, was published by Scribner. She recently finished "The Unlocked Room," a novel about the lives of a group of people incarcerated in two neighboring U.S. prisons, and "The Hard Loss," a novel about a DNA exoneree’s first week of freedom after 24 years of incarceration for a crime he did not commit. Stories from "The Unlocked Room" have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Callaloo, Hanging Loose, Best African American Fiction 2009 (Bantam Books), and www.solsticelitmag.com

She was educated at Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She is Director of the Program in Women's & Gender Studies and Professor of Fiction Writing in Comparative Media Studies/Writing at MIT. Formerly the Associate Chair of the Board of Directors of PEN New England, she served on its Freedom to Write Committee and taught in its Prison Creative Writing Program, which she helped to establish.