Jessica J. Lee

Instructor & Writer
Profile Photo

Jessica J. Lee is a British-Canadian-Taiwanese author and environmental historian, and winner of the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Author Award. She received a doctorate in environmental history and aesthetics in 2016, and her first book, Turning: A Year in the Water, was published in 2017. Jessica is the founding editor of The Willowherb Review. Her second book, Two Trees Make a Forest, was published in the UK in 2019 and was published by Catapult in  the US in 2020. 

Classes

Stories

Cover Photo: An  illustration  of a hand opening  a box—cherry blossoms flow out of the box. Ribbons of  yellow, white, blue, fill the  background.
Budding History: On Nationalism and Cherry Blossoms

Through myth-making and symbolism, the natural world comes to stand in for potent human ideals.

Jul 23, 2020
Cover Photo: A screenshot from Liziqi's YouTube video. On the table are purple potatoes, soy milk, steamed rice cakes, fruits, and flowers. An elderly Chinese woman sit as the  table  holding a spoon filled  with some soy milk.
What Soybeans Can Be

Soybeans were linked to life itself.

Jun 17, 2020
Cover Photo: An illustration of woman holding a mango on her hands to the left side of the illustration. In the background is a mango tree. On the right is a building with a woman  using  picking pole to get the mangoes on the tree.
The Many Meanings of the Mango

Mangoes—revered and prized by almost every culture in which they are cultivated—are a migrant fruit.

May 11, 2020
Cover Photo: An image of heather on hill at sunset.
How the Literature of Empire Shaped My View of the Natural World

It took me years before I realized that I’d built my notions of beauty from the stories of a distant land.

Apr 02, 2020
Cover Photo: An image of a Fukien Tea Tree against a light pink background. On the right side of the tree we see the growth of green leaves. A white flower grows from a branch into the left, surrounded by branches.
My Grandfather and the Fukien Tea Tree: A Botanical History

I added it to the list of things off-limits: questions about the past, the wars, why my grandparents had fled China for Taiwan. Why eventually they left that place too.

Feb 19, 2020