Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on May 12, 2010.
Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing and came to the United States in 1996. Her stories and essays have been published in The New Yorker, Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. She has received a Lannan Literary Residency and was selected by Granta as one of the 21 Best Young American Novelists under 35. Her debut collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and was described by the Washington Post as “a remarkable debut–as acute and authentic-sounding about the domestic effect of cross-cultural change in modern China as Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies was about India. Also like that book, it’s one of those rare short story collections where you find yourself reading one perfectly realized gem after the next.” Her recent novel, The Vagrants, is set in China in the late 1970s, when Beijing was rocked by the Democratic Wall Movement, an anti-Communist groundswell designed to move China beyond the dark shadow of the Cultural Revolution toward a more enlightened and open society that eventually led to the Tiananmen Square uprising. Li lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and their two sons.
Additional photos of this event are available on Flickr.