Lillian Li

Posted by Sue Leonard on Tuesday 26th February 2019
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Lilian started writing when she was ten years old.

“I wrote fan fiction with my best friend. We used to meet up at playgrounds to brainstorm story ideas. I transitioned into writing original fiction in high school and things pretty much took off from there.”

Lillian started writing her debut whilst taking her MFA programme.

“It started as a short story, but I found the characters so rich and compelling that I wanted to spend more time with them. It took about three years to write the novel and revise it. By the end of my three-year programme, I managed to sell the book.”

The novel was longlisted for the Centre for Fiction’s first novel prize for 2018.

 

Who is Lilian Li?

Place of Birth: Ann Arbor, Michigan and grew up in the Gaithersburg area of Maryland.

Education: The National Cathedral School. Princeton, English with a certificate in Creative Writing. MFA in Creative Writing.

Home: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Family: A mom, dad, and a younger brother.

The Day Job: “I work at an independent bookstore, and I teach composition and creative writing at the University of Michigan.”

In Another Life. “I really wish I could draw. I’m deeply envious of graphic novelists who are able to combine illustration with writing.”

Favourite Writers: Alice Munro, Elena Ferrante, Virginia Woolf, Karen Joy Fowler, Ruth Ozeki, Zadie Smith

Second Novel: “I’m not currently writing anything new.”

Top Tip: “No one will ever care as much about your work as you do, so you need belief in yourself. You are the only one who can call yourself a writer.”

Web: www.lillianliauthor.com Twitter: @zillianzi

 

The Debut: Number One Chinese Restaurant: One: €15.99   Kindle: €9.16. 

Behind the scenes at the Beijing Duck House in Maryland, the staff, tired from gruelling years of service, work hard to mask their grudges amidst the simmering tension. We get a great insider’s view of the service industry, as the multigenerational characters fight and fall in love.

“I worked at a Chinese restaurant, briefly, the summer before grad school, and combined my experience with my mother’s inspired me to write the novel. She was a waitress when she first immigrated.  I hope readers will find the characters as compelling as I do.”

The Verdict: A clever compelling debut with lots of heart.  

Published in The Irish Examiner on 16th February, 2019

© Sue Leonard. 2019.

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