Yiyun Li (李翊雲) (born November 4, 1972) is a Chinese American writer. Her debut short story collection A Thousand Years of Good Prayers won the 2005 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and her second collection Gold Boy, Emerald Girl was shortlisted for the same award. Her debut novel The Vagrants was shortlisted for the 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing, China, and moved to the United States after earning a B.S. at Peking University in 1996. She earned an MS in immunology at The University of Iowa, an MFA in creative nonfiction from the Nonfiction Writing Program at The University of Iowa, and an MFA in fiction from Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her stories and essays have been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Zoetrope: All-Story. Two of the stories from A Thousand Years of Good Prayers were adapted into 2007 films directed by Wayne Wang: The Princess of Nebraska and the title story, which Li adapted herself.
- Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa, Texas
- 2005 - Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award for A Thousand Years of Good Prayers
- 2006 - PEN/Hemingway Award for A Thousand Years of Good Prayers
- 2006 - Guardian First Book Award for A Thousand Years of Good Prayers
- 2006 - Whiting Writers' Award
- California Book Award first fiction award for A Thousand Years of Good Prayers'
- 2007 - Granta's 21 Best of Young American Novelists
- California Book Award for The Vagrants
- 2010 - The New Yorker's 20 under 40
- 2010 - MacArthur Foundation fellow
- 2010 - Story Prize finalist for Gold Boy, Emerald Girl
- 2011 - International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award shortlist for The Vagrants
- 2011 - Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award shortlist for Gold Boy, Emerald Girl.
- 2014 - The American Academy of Arts and Letters's Benjamin H. Danks Award
- A Thousand Years of Good Prayers. Random House, Inc. September 2005. ISBN 978-0-8129-7333-4.
- The Vagrants. Random House. February 2009. ISBN 978-1-4000-6313-0.
- Gold Boy, Emerald Girl. Random House. September 2010. ISBN 978-1-4000-6813-5.
- Kinder Than Solitude. Random House. February 2014. ISBN 978-1-4000-6814-2.
- Best American Short Stories
- Laura Furman, ed. (2008). "Prison". O Henry Prize Stories. Random House, Inc. ISBN 978-0-307-28034-3.
Stephanie Merritt of The Observer wrote,
Yiyun Li's 2005 debut story collection A Thousand Years of Good Prayers earned her comparisons with Chekhov and Alice Munro. Her first novel, The Vagrants, draws heavily on the art of the short story as it follows a disparate group of citizens of the industrial town of Muddy River over three months in 1979.
Ian Thomson of The Independent wrote,
With its controlled understatement and scrupulous and unsparing lucidity, The Vagrants is a work of great moral poise and dignity. These days, few writers can be said to possess gravitas; yet Yiyun Li exudes a seriousness that would be remarkable in one twice her age. As a chronicle of political betrayal under a modern dictatorship, The Vagrants is a minor classic; I have not read such a compelling work in years.
- A Public Space.
- The New Yorker bio.
- Yiyli at UC Davis.
- Battersby, Eileen (16 June 2011). "'I decided to write the great Irish novel but couldn't. I wasn't messed-up enough'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- Walsh, Caroline. "Two Irish authors make awards shortlist". The Irish Times. 9 July 2011.
- Flood, Alison. "Strong showing for Irish writers on Frank O'Connor shortlist". The Guardian. 9 July 2011.
- Stephanie Merritt (15 February 2009). "Madness after Mao". The Observer.
- Ian Thomson (13 February 2009). "The Vagrants, By Yiyun Li". The Independent.
- Yiyun Li's Official Homepage
- UC Davis homepage
- "The Rumpus Interview with Yiyun Li", January 14th, 2009
- January 2009 interview with Yiyun Li
- "Executioner Songs", The Wall Street Journal, JANUARY 30, 2009
- "Interviews: Yiyun Li", Identity Theory
- Articles by Yuyun Li on her UK publisher's blog, 5th Estate
- Yiyun Li speaks about Gold Boy, Emerald Girl on KRUI's The Lit Show
- Video: The Story Prize reading with Anthony Doerr and Suzanne Rivecca. March 2, 2011.