A Conversation With Yiyun Li

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“I have an obligation to human beings, my characters, so that’s all I care about.” In this PEN International interview, Yiyun Li speaks about the expectation as a Chinese American writer to be a spokesperson for a particular experience, and how she enjoys exploring the interior struggles of her characters. Li won the 2020 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award for her novel Where Reasons End (Random House, 2020).

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Yiyun Li

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“What one carries from one point to another, geographically or temporally, is one’s self.” Yiyun Li reads from her debut memoir, Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life (Random House, 2017), in this video produced by the Office of Communications at Princeton University. Li, whose novel Where Reasons End is forthcoming from Random House in February, is featured in “Portraits of Inspiration” in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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