life & times
I Could Write A Book
Hear Ella Fitzgerald sing the Rodgers & Hart tune
What’s a novelist to do in the face of such a peripatetic and persistent character? Ruminate of course, while listening to Ella sing Rodgers & Hart’s tune from “Pal Joey”
If they asked me / I could write a book / About the way you walk and listen / And look / I could write a preface / On how we met / So the world would never forget . . .
Which is how Gordie finally got his own book.
However, she really is the author of twelve books, including five novels, five collections of short fiction & essays and most recently a memoir DEAR HONG KONG: AN ELEGY TO A CITY, released July 1, 2017 by Penguin as part of its Hong Kong series for the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China. She is also editor of four anthologies of Hong Kong writing in English. Two new books are forthcoming - a short fiction collection INSIGNIFICANCE (Signal 8 Press, 2018) and an essay collection THIS FISH IS FOWL (Nebraska Univ. Press, 2019-20).
A former Indonesian national, born and raised in Hong Kong, she eventually morphed into a U.S. citizen at the age of 33, having washed onto that distant shore across from Lady Liberty. These days, she splits time between New York and Hong Kong and mourns the loss of her beloved writing retreat in Seacliff, on the South Island of New Zealand, where she hovered, joyously, for seven years.
*pinyin = transliteration for Mandarin Chinese or Putonghua (P), the official language of China although Xu is far more fluent in Cantonese (C), that being the people’s language of her birth city, Hong Kong.
lamwoomedia interview series of Xu Xi
Interview # 1 "My Dream in Life" - see the rest of the series on YouTube
More happily, she managed to exit, stage left in spring of 2016 to be writer-in-residence at Arizona State University’s Piper Writers Center where she bicycled regularly under desert skies.