Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li

AFFILIATION
Alumnus Faculty
TIME IN IOWA CITY
2000 - 20005
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Video

Conversations: Yiyun Li


Location
Iowa Writers' Workshop (Dey House)
507 North Clinton Street, Iowa City, Iowa

Kecia Lynn speaks with author Yiyun Li, author of A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and The Vagrants, on this episode of “Conversations” recorded at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop’s Dey House, on the University of Iowa campus.




The University of Iowa. “Conversations: Yiyun Li.” YouTube. YouTube, 08 Oct. 2009. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.

Audio

Yiyun Li reading, Live from Prairie Lights


Location
Prairie Lights Bookstore
15 South Dubuque Street, Iowa City Iowa

Yiyun Li, an alumna of both the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the UI Nonfiction Writing Program, reads from “Gold Boy, Emerald Girl” her new short-story collection, October 4, 2010.

Audio

Yiyun Li reading, March 5, 2014


Location
Prairie Lights Bookstore
15 South Dubuque Street, Iowa City Iowa

Writers’ Workshop graduate Yiyun Li reads from her new novel, Kinder Than Solitude. Kinder Than Solitude is the story of three people whose lives are changed by a murder one of them may have committed. Moving back and forth in time, between America today and China in the 1990s, the book illustrates how even the most innocent person is capable of a heartless crime. Yiyun Li is the recipient of a MacArthur fellowship, the Frank O’Connor Award, the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the Whiting Writers’ Award, and the Guardian First Book Award. Li is the author of A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, The Vagrants, and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl. She teaches writing at the University of California, Davis, and lives in Oakland, California. “(Li’s) characters are portrayed with a harsh beauty, and one’s emotions become deeply engaged with their fates. This is an exceptional novel and Yiyun Li has grown into one of our major novelists.’ — Salman Rushdie

David Wystan Owen, a writer and former student of Li’s, moderates this special event.

Place

Yiyun Li Writes ‘A Thousand Years of Good Prayers’ at Prairie Lights


Location
Prairie Lights Bookstore
15 South Dubuque Street, Iowa City Iowa

In 2008 I, [Jan Weissmiller] along with my friend and fellow poet Jane Mead, became the co-owner of Prairie Lights, whose story continues to evolve, its ghosts hovering over the laptops that occupy the Times Club from 9 AM until 9 PM. Yiyun Li, who wrote there almost every day while she was in the Workshop, says it’s where she composed her first collection of stories, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (Random House, 2005).


Weissmiller, Jan. “Iowa City.” Poets & Writers. Poets & Writers, 01 May 2012. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.

Place

Yiyun Li’s Path to Writing in Iowa


Location

She planned to become a scientist, and in 1996 came to the United States to study immunology at the University of Iowa. “I passed my qualifications for my Ph.D., and I started to panic,” she recalls. “I was a capable scientist, but not passionate. Not dedicated. Pretty soon, I quit the Ph.D. program. I got my master’s and worked in a hospital doing research.”

Meanwhile, her college sweetheart from Beijing University had joined her in Iowa City and they soon married. She signed up for an eight-week evening writing course. When she submitted her first story, the teacher asked her to stay behind after class and asked if she’d thought of publishing.


Heidi Benson Chronicle Staff. “People on the Edge Intrigue Writer Yiyun Li.” SFGate. Hearst Communications, Inc., 27 Feb. 2009. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.

Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing and came to the United States in 1996. Her debut collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, Guardian First Book Award, and California Book Award for first fiction. Her novel, The Vagrants, won the gold medal of California Book Award for fiction, and was shortlisted for Dublin IMPAC Award. Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, her second collection, was a finalist of Story Prize and shortlisted for Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Kinder Than Solitude, her latest novel, was published to critical acclaim. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Yiyun Li has received numerous awards, including Whiting Award, Lannan Foundation Residency fellow, 2010 MacArthur Foundation fellow, 2014 Benjamin H. Danks Award from American Academy of Arts and Letters, 2015 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Prize, among others. She was selected by Granta as one of the 21 Best Young American Novelists under 35, and was named by The New Yorker as one of the top 20 writers under 40. She has served on the jury panel for Man Booker International Prize, National Book Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, and other. She is a contributing editor to the Brooklyn-based literary magazine, A Public Space.

She lives in Princeton, New Jersey with her husband and their two sons, and teaches at Princeton University.

 

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