Jennifer 8. Lee is an entrepreneur, film producer, journalist, seed investor and emoji activist.
Her newest project is Writing Atlas, the world’s largest online catalog of short stories, which was incubated by Plympton, a literary studio that innovates in digital publishing. Among other Plympton projects is Recovering the Classics, and a VR film based on George Saunders’ Man Booker Prize winning novel, Lincoln in the Bardo for The New York Times.
She has co-led an Angel List seed investment fund for Y Combinator, was a 2018 Fast Company Most Creative Person in Business, and is a Sundance Sloan fellow.
A former New York Times reporter, Jenny is a producer of The Search for General Tso and The Emoji Story, both which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festivals, as well as Artificial Gamer, about OpenAI. She was also an executive producer and associate producers for films which have shown at Sundance, SXSW and Cannes Film Festivals.
She is also the author of the New York Times-bestselling book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles (Twelve, 2008), which established fortune cookies are originally Japanese, and co-author of The Hanmoji Handbook (MIT Press, 2022), a children’s book on how Chinese and emoji are similar.
She is the founder of Emojination, a grassroots group whose motto is “Emoji by the people, for the people.” As part of that organization, she successfully lobbied for a dumpling, hijab and interracial couple emojis among others. She co-founded Emojicon and was a vice-chair of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee.
Jenny serves on the the Center for Public Integrity, MuckRock Foundation, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Hacks/Hackers and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Inside Climate News, the Roxie Theater in San Francisco and the Museum of Chinese in America. She also serves as an advisory board for the Robert F. Kennedy journalism awards and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard. She was a co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Futures Council for Media, Entertainment and Sport, and attended the Davos in that capacity.
Jenny grew up in Harlem (near Columbia!), majored in applied math and economics at Harvard and attended Beijing University on fellowship. Her dream is to be a standup comic.