Celeste Ng

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Celeste Ng
Ng in 2018
Ng in 2018
Born (1980-07-30) July 30, 1980 (age 42)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
OccupationNovelist, writer
Alma materHarvard University
University of Michigan

Celeste Ng (Chinese: 伍綺詩 /səˈlɛst ˈɪŋ/ sə-LEST ING) (born July 30, 1980)[1] is an American writer and novelist.[2][3][4] She has released many short stories that have been published in a variety of literary journals.[5] Ng's first novel, Everything I Never Told You, released on June 26, 2014 won the Amazon Book of the Year award[2] as well as praise from critics. Ng's short story Girls at Play won a Pushcart Prize in 2012, and was a 2015 recipient of an Alex Award. Her most recent novel Little Fires Everywhere was published in 2017. Ng received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2020.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Celeste Ng was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[2] Her parents moved from Hong Kong in the late 1960s.[2] Her father Dr. Daniel L. Ng (d. 2004) was a physicist at NASA in the John H. Glenn Research Center (formerly known as the NASA Lewis Research Center).[4][7] Her mother was a chemist who taught at Cleveland State University.[4]

When Ng was ten years old, she moved from Pittsburgh to Shaker Heights, Ohio[4] with her parents and sister.[8] She attended the schools in the Shaker Heights City School District, from Woodbury Elementary all the way up to Shaker Heights High School.[4] At Shaker Heights High School, Ng was involved with the Student Group on Race Relations ("SGORR") for three years and was a co-editor of the school's literary magazine, Semanteme.[4] She graduated from high school in 1998.

After graduating from high school, Ng studied English at Harvard University. She then attended graduate school at University of Michigan, where she earned her Master of Fine Arts in writing, now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. At the University of Michigan, Ng won the Hopwood Award for her short story "What Passes Over".[4][9]


Ng received the Pushcart Prize in 2012 for her story "Girls, At Play".[10] Her fiction has appeared in One Story, TriQuarterly, and Subtropics. Her essays have appeared in Kenyon Review Online, The Millions, and elsewhere. Ng taught writing at the University of Michigan and at Grub Street in Boston.[11] Ng also was an editor of blogs at the website Fiction Writers Review for three years.[11]

Ng's debut novel, Everything I Never Told You: A Novel, is a literary thriller that focuses on an American family in 1970s Ohio.[12][13] The novel had four drafts and one revision before completion, which took six years. Working on it, Ng said she drew upon her own experiences of racism as well as her family and friends.[14] The book, which the Los Angeles Times called an "excellent first novel about family, love, and ambition," won Amazon’s book of the year award in 2014[2][15] and was a New York Times Notable Book of 2014.[16] It has been translated into 15 languages.[5] In 2020, it was reported that Annapurna Television would develop the novel into a limited series. Ng and Mary Lee of production company A-Major Media will serve as executive producers.[17]

Ng's second novel, Little Fires Everywhere, is set in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and follows two families, one a mother and daughter, that challenge the boundaries and culture of the town.[8][14] The novel was developed into a 2020 Hulu miniseries of the same name starring and executive produced by Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington; Ng also served as one of the show's producers.

Personal life[edit]

As of 2014, Ng resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and son.[4]

While on a book tour for Everything I Never Told You, Ng said her favorite book as a child was Harriet the Spy.[8] As an adult, one of her favorite books is The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.[18]

In 2018, when the American government was separating the children and parents of undocumented immigrant families,[19] Ng used her Twitter account to call attention to the policy. Ng and a group of other writers auctioned naming rights of future characters in their books. The goal was to raise money for Immigrant Families Together, a volunteer group dedicated to reuniting migrant families.[20]


  • Everything I Never Told You. Penguin Press. 2014. ISBN 978-1594205712.
  • "Girls, At Play". Pushcart Prize 2012 Anthology (XXXVI 2012 ed.). 2012. ISBN 978-1888889635.[5]
  • Little Fires Everywhere. Penguin Press. 2017. ISBN 978-0735224315.
  • Our Missing Hearts (2022, forthcoming)


  1. ^ "Celeste Ng - Knowledge & Wisdom". newengland.com. Yankee Publishing, Inc. October 24, 2018. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e Hoby, Hermione (November 17, 2014). "Amazon book of the year winner Celeste Ng: 'Writing's like shouting into the world'". The Guardian.
  3. ^ NPR Staff (June 28, 2014). "'Everything I Never Told You' Exposed in Biracial Family's Loss". NPR.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Connors, Joanna (July 9, 2014). "Writer Celeste Ng talks about growing up in Shaker Heights and her buzz novel of the summer, Everything I Never Told You". The Plain Dealer. Cleveland.com.
  5. ^ a b c "Essays And Stories". Celeste Ng. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  6. ^ "Guggenheim Fellowship in 2020". Archived from the original on April 12, 2020.
  7. ^ "Dr. Daniel L. Ng Obituary (2004) the Plain Dealer".
  8. ^ a b c Politics and Prose. "Celeste Ng, "Everything I Never Told You"". youtube. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  9. ^ ""What Passes Over" by Celeste Ng". One story. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  10. ^ Wineberg, Ronna. "Girls, At Play". Bellevue Literary Review. Archived from the original on April 29, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Dreifus, Erika. "Everything She Graciously Told Me: An Interview with Celeste Ng". erika dreifus. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  12. ^ Chee, Alexander (August 15, 2014). "Sunday Book Review, The Leftovers 'Everything I Never Told You,' by Celeste Ng". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Simon, Clea (July 1, 2014). "Book Review 'Everything I Never Told You' by Celeste Ng". The Boston Globe.
  14. ^ a b Schluep, Chris. "CelesteNgBEA". youtube.
  15. ^ Tobar, Hector (July 4, 2014). "Review 'Everything I Never Told You' a moving tale of a dysfunctional family". Los Angeles Times.
  16. ^ Ng, Celeste. "PRAISE FOR EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU". Celeste Ng.
  17. ^ Haylock, Zoe (May 22, 2020). "Celeste Ng's Debut Novel Is Getting the Little Fires Everywhere Treatment". Vulture. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
  18. ^ Connors, Joanna (July 9, 2014). "Writer Celeste Ng talks about growing up in Shaker Heights and her buzz novel of the summer, Everything I Never Told You". The Plain Dealer. Cleveland.com.
  19. ^ "Family separation under the Trump administration – a timeline". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
  20. ^ Lamy, Nicole (December 20, 2018). "Celeste Ng Is More Than a Novelist". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 5, 2022.

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