One thing I like about this incredible grant is that it goes to people across many fields; this year’s fellows also include a sculptor, a sign language linguist, a population geneticist, an entomologist.
Here’s a bit more from the MacArthur website:
The MacArthur Fellows Program is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations . . . Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a reward for past accomplishment, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential.”
Li has written three books: A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, a short story collection published in 2005; a novel, The Vagrants (2009); and her most recent collection, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, published in September.
In the past few weeks I have found myself drawn to short stories written by women—collections that have become contemporary classics (Interpreter of Maladies, Olive Kitteridge), and it has been thrilling to discover Li’s writing as a result of her recent recognition. I have no doubt that Gold Boy, Emerald Girl will become a beloved work—BookPage, reviewer Lauren Bufferd describes Li’s writing as “formally rigorous and crafted with an elegance that harkens back to stylists like Chekhov and William Trevor.” She continues:
The title story is the masterpiece in the collection—an expertly crafted work in which a professor introduces her middle-aged son to her favorite student—an action that ignores the natures of both individuals, but also opens up their lives to the possibility of happiness.
This week we’re giving away one copy of Gold Boy, Emerald Girl. To enter to win, leave a comment with either your favorite short story collection—or the name of a writer who you think is a genius.
If you’re interested in Li’s biography (the author was originally trained as a scientist in China) watch her MacArthur video: