Sunday, February 1, 2009

Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li's new novel is The Vagrants.

From an interview at about her earlier short story collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers:

Question: A Thousand Years of Good Prayers presents readers with a stunning vision of China, past and present. When you think of your homeland, what thoughts or images come to mind? What are your feelings about China today?

Yiyun Li: I have always said that there are two Chinas. The first is a country filled with people, like my family and many others, who try to lead serious and meaningful lives despite the political, economic and cultural dilemmas they face. The second is a country with a government controlled by one party, made rich from corruption and injustice. I love the first China but do not love the second. So when I think about China today, I always have mixed feelings.

Q: When did you come to America, and what brought you here?

YL: I came to America in 1996 to attend the University of Iowa. I had planned to pursue a Ph.D. in immunology and hoped to stay in the medical science field as a researcher.

Q: But instead of becoming an immunologist, you became a writer—that is quite a switch! How did that happen?

YL: I had never thought of becoming a writer nor had I written anything before I came to Iowa. But once there I stumbled into a community writing class, which led to more writing classes, and I began to seriously consider changing my career.
Read the complete Q & A.

Visit Yiyun Li's website.

--Marshal Zeringue