The Washington Post

Carolyn See celebrates 80th birthday

(Courtesy of Lisa See) (Courtesy of Lisa See)

Carolyn See, a longtime book reviewer for The Washington Post, celebrated her 80th birthday on Sunday. The party on the Santa Monica Pier in California was hosted by her daughters, Clara Sturak and the novelist Lisa See. Among the invited guests were cultural critic Leo Braudy, LA Times film critic Kenny Turan, producer Charlie Hauck and Red Hen Press publisher Kate Gale.

After the party, LA Times book critic David Ulin said, “It was a celebration of a woman and a writer who has been absolutely central in LA letters, with friends from many generations, going back to junior high school and as young as her great-grandson.”

See is well-known to readers of The Post, which has published her book reviews for decades. Her first review appeared in The Post on Sept. 3, 1987. (It was C.Y. Lee’s “China Saga.”) Since then, her byline has appeared in our pages hundreds of times. It was only in 2012, after recovering from an illness, that she stopped reviewing every Friday and moved to “just” two reviews a month.

Washington Post book reviewer Carolyn See. (Courtesy of Lisa See) Washington Post book reviewer Carolyn See. (Courtesy of Lisa See)

An adjunct professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles, See is the author of many books of fiction and nonfiction, including her most recent novel, “There Will Never Be Another You” (2006).

Working with See continues to be one of the great joys of my job. She remains the only reviewer who ever calls me “Sugar Plums” and “Sweetums.”

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.



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