Authors at Large is hosting two great programs! An online weekend workshop in historical fiction on May 20-21, led by Rachel Kadish (award winning historical novelist & author of The Weight of Ink). Limited to 6 writers only. Register at this link.
A writing retreat & literary week in beautiful Singapore! June 25 - July 2. Workshops (limited to 10 writers each) in prose led by Xu Xi, Robin Hemley & Madeleine Thien; poetry with Alvin Pang. Publishing sessions with two NYC publishers: Lisa Lucas, Sr. VP & Publisher of Pantheon Schocken Books of Penguin/Random House & Indie press publisher Jee Leong Koh, Gaudy Boy Press (specializing in Asian writing). Panels & readings with award winning Singaporean writers Noelle de Jesus, Jee Leong Koh, Inez Tan and Daryl Qilin Yam. Opportunity for registered participants to give public readings. Co-hosted by The Arts House, a historic architectural site, where all events will take place. Register at this link.
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About this book
Observations of contemporary life that make monkeys of us: this existential disbelief thrums through speculative stories and essays in Xu Xi's latest collection. These 16 short pieces, evenly divided between fiction and nonfiction, are in turn elegiac, satiric, darkly comic, lyrical, even confessional in tone, and traverse the inequities and abuse of power in sex, politics, race, history, culture, and language across a disquieting transnational terrain. Prepare to be disturbed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained. • FREE EBook sampler can be downloaded from this link
Watch a live video recording of Xu speaking about her new book in NYC at the AAARI City University of New York (March 24, 2023). Includes short readings from four selections. Recording at this link.
Conversation with poet James Sherry about both our new books in Critical Flame Issue 73, December 2022
Read the review by Patrick Thomas Henry in the Michigan Quarterly Review (December 16, 2022)
Conversation curated by Kristina Marie Darling in Tupelo Quarterly, December 14, 2022
Other writers say:
In this relentlessly inventive collection, Xu Xi gives us an in-between Hong Kong, culturally hybrid and casually polyglot . . . (her)"speculations" weave between fact and fiction, from personal essay to short story, memoir to satire, as elusive and allusive as her playful, slippery sentences. Xu has been instrumental in carving out the space for global Asian voices on the world literary stage, and this book is a work of true -- to borrow Xu's term -- "transnational patriotism." Antony Dapiran, author of City on Fire: The Fight for Hong Kong
Don't let the humor and playfulness of this genre bending work fool you. The real mission is to keenly and incisively peel back the layers of absurdity and illusion and reveal our hubris
. . . a brilliant work by a contemporary master of form. —Hasanthika Sirisena, author of Dark Tourist, The Other One
Read this marvellous collection by Xu Xi, genre-defying essays and fiction that are truly writing without borders . . . Her literary references range across Hesiod and Ding Ling and Jonathan Swift. The elegance of her language is breath-taking . . . I couldn't put this book down, and when I was finished I started to read it again. Kim Echlin, Canada, author of Speak Silence, Under the Visible Life, The Disappeared
To know Hong Kong—or even to be curious about the city and its people—is to love Xu Xi's work. Monkey in Residence is a brilliant blend of fact and fiction that captures the conundrum that is modern Hong Kong: once British, now Chinese, still seeking its own identity and freedom. The diverse pieces in this collection—some dark, some funny, some poignant—paint a portrait of a writer who has had a long love affair with a city, despite its imperfections, and knows she will never quite be able to leave it behind. Xu Xi's tantalizing language, sprinkled with Chinese, is an absolute delight to read. Clifford Garstang, USA, author of What the Zhang Boys Know and The Shaman of Turtle Valley
Illuminating and moving . . . uniting family, belonging, travel, and the quest for transnational identity, this stunning hybrid collection reveals how people are shaped by the environments they inhabit. Aimee Parkison, USA, author of Suburban Death Project and Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman
Keenly observed, richly textured, and often slyly humorous, Xu's aptly named speculations create space for childhood recollections of a vanishing Hong Kong to shimmer alongside her characters' lucidly imagined inner landscapes and her own surreal dispatches from the ever-shifting present. Inez Tan, Singapore, author of This Is Where I Won't Be Alone
Unmasks the absurdities that have shaped Hong Kong as a disorienting space, and illuminates the profound ambivalence with which we embrace and resist the city. Nicolette Wong, Writer-in-Residence, Dept of English, Chinese University of Hong Kong
A book above and beyond categories . . . she writes ’a way of being, of feeling that you can belong in your own skin, without compromise,’ — ideas important to us all. Anna Sherman, England, author of The Bells of Old Tokyo
Continues to amaze and inspire . . . her prose is poetic, original, and at times, even funny. This book is a must-read, one I won't forget. Kim Chinquee Buffalo State University, Co-Director Writing Major
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Recent podcast interview in “The Cultural Life of the Nobel Prize in Literature” series.
Recent New Work
The Art and Craft of Asian Stories: A Writer's Guide and Anthology by Robin Hemley & Xu Xi
”Fiction Remix” a chapter from her memoir-in-progress The Work Book, appears in the latest issue of New England Review (Vol 43.1). An excerpt was featured at LitHub, click here to read “Xu Xi on Living the Transnational Life”
Teaching Creative Writing in Asia, ed. Darryl Whetter includes Xu's essay ”Compromised Tongues: That Wrong Language for the Creative Writing We Teach in Asia”
A recent issue of West Trestle Review republishes Xu's 2001 story “Democracy” that is surprisingly prescient for the state of democracy in the world today.
“2016: The Political Year” new “shaggy fiction”chapter from a novel-in-progress Memories of You named a Glimmer Train finalist, July 8, 2017
“The Writing Race” Asian American Literary Review essay “Speak No Evil” response to MFA vs. POC, Jan 11, 2015
An essay reflecting on Hong Kong today "永久性香港 Forever This Hong Kong" at First Person with Michael Judge
All About Skin
Edited by Jina Ortiz & Rochelle Spencer, with a foreword by Helena Maria Viramontes, this exciting new anthology is, according to Pulitzer fiction author Junot Diaz, "electrifying and absolutely necessary." Xu’s work is the title story and the volume features twenty-seven stories by women of color. Published in November, 2014 by the University of Wisconsin press.
All About Skin was named a Ms. Magazine 2014 must-read feminist book of the year.