Aimee Liu

Novelist, Essayist, Teacher

Read Aimee's stories on Medium@

If you enjoy Aimee's work, please consider joining Medium. Your $5 monthly membership fee will give you full access to every story she posts on Medium. Join

Subscribe to her newsletter@
  THIS SEPT.10-16, 2023. 

  Find out more at
Aimee Liu Author Novelist

Aimee Liu

Aimee Liu is the bestselling author of the novel Glorious Boy, as well as Flash House; Cloud Mountain; and Face. Her nonfiction includes Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders and Solitaire. Aimee's books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Her short fiction has been nominated for and received special mention in the Pushcart Prize competition. Her essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Los Angeles Times, Poets & Writers, and many other periodicals and anthologies.
Aimee received her MFA from Bennington College and taught fiction and nonfiction for many years in Goddard College's low-residency MFA program in Creative Writing.

For a comprehensive article about her career,
check out this post on @Medium: About Me--Aimee Liu

Read More


Latest Blog posts:

New Resource Newsletter for Creative Writers

New Resource Newsletter for Creative Writers
by Aimee Liu

I’ve just launched a new section at my Substack publication, Legacy & Lore especially for writers of creative nonfiction and fiction. MFA Lore is meant to share the wealth that I’ve gleaned over more than four decades of publishing and teaching creative writing at the MFA level.

Why MFA Lore? I know there’s some dispute about the value of graduate degrees for writers who “just want to write.” I shared that hesitation for years, publishing more than three novels and four nonfiction books before getting my own MFA at Bennington. But the knowledge, insight, and community I gained at Bennington ignited my writing life and improved my work in too many ways to count. My goal here is not to motivate you to get an MFA (unless you’re so inclined, of course) but to give you a taste of the wisdom I’ve absorbed while studying and teaching in an MFA program.

You can check it out and subscribe HERE

Intricacies of POV

Intricacies of POV
by Aimee Liu

This is the biweekly writers’ Q&A from the MFA Lore section of Aimee Liu's Legacy & Lore newsletter @Substack.
Become a paid subscriber HERE to read the whole Roundup.


Welcome to our second Roundup, everyone!

I appreciate this week’s terrific questions. I’m in the thick of these same issues with my own work, so it was good to give them a bigger think here.

Before we plunge in, please remember that writing is a game that requires us to break as many rules as we observe. Prescriptions are for pharmaceuticals, not literature. So, while these answers reflect my literary preferences and experience as an author and teacher, they’re only my advice. Never forget that you are the author of your work, so the ultimate decision for what goes on in your pages lies with you. 

A book promotion 101 lesson from Oprah herself

A book promotion 101 lesson from Oprah herself
by Aimee Liu

You know what they say about best laid plans? Well, that goes double when Oprah calls. Even when she doesn’t call you.

Last week I was thrilled to be asked to “chat” onstage with novelist and physician extraordinaire Abraham Verghese for the series Live Talks Los Angeles. Though I’d never before met him, I’d loved Verghese’s first novel, Cutting For Stone, when it came out a decade ago. I’d traveled in Kerala, India, the location of his new novel, The Covenant of Water, and I’d written two novels of my own about India during the same turbulent colonial period when most of this story takes place. So I knew we’d find a lot to talk about.

I’ve interviewed others for Live Talks, including Aimee Tan and Pico Iyer. I prepare diligently for these events, both as a sign of respect for the authors and also as the best strategy for managing my own stage fright before large audiences. For this conversation I needed to inhale all 724 pages of The Covenant of Water inside of a week. I had to get cozy with more than 30 key characters and their masterfully interwoven plot lines. I needed to absorb the whole multi-generational saga so I could discuss its vast scope and humanity in detail. Or so I thought.

What I didn’t know was that The Covenant of Water would be selected for Oprah’s book club the week of our chat. And what I didn’t factor into my preparation was the fact that we’d be discussing the novel just one day after its publication date.

This article was originally published on Medium HERE.

The subconscious has its own way of saying goodbye

The subconscious has its own way of saying goodbye
by Aimee Liu

My mother died one year ago today, yet she remains deeply present in my life —  largely through our dreams together, which seem to be multiplying. Most of these nocturnal reunions skip into oblivion as soon as I wake. When a dream is particularly vivid, though, I try to scrawl its contours in my dream journal. 

Still half asleep in the dark, I’ll write blind before the movie in my mind flickers out. And somehow, these half-conscious scribbles are surprisingly decipherable. Like hieroglyphics, they provide just enough imagery — stairs, foliage, faces, signs —  to bring the mental story right back to me. In this way, the recent dreams involving my mother have re-emerged like prose-poems from the subconscious — or some other metaphysical zone. Consider this one:

I’m back in my childhood neighborhood with Mom as my guide, photographing all the old houses before they’re gone. She reminds me who lived in which glass house. The O’Neils. The Steinmetzes. The Bigelows and Barkentins. All now gone, though she is here. We trudge through the woods, needing to catch up, to explore, to remember where the Amusement Park is before it, too, is gone.

Yung Wing, my grandfather, and the seeds of China’s pro-democracy movement

by Aimee Liu
In 1900 my grandfather Liu Chengyu became one of China’s first pro-democracy activists when he joined a student-organized plot to blow up an imperial armory near his home in Wuchang. The plot was exposed and several of my grandfather’s young collaborators were beheaded, while he escaped into exile. In today’s New York Times Morning newsletter, I felt as if I was reading about my grandfather through a time warp.

Not many people today give much thought to the activists who first introduced the notion of democracy to China. So many political, economic, and military convulsions have since gripped the Middle Kingdom that the idealism of those early revolutionaries now seems both quaint and tragic. But they were every bit as brave, hotheaded, and patriotic in their time as the college students who dare to oppose Xi Jinping today.

For those who are following China’s pro-democracy movement, I offer this annotated extract from my grandfather’s memoirs, in which he meets an even earlier godfather of democracy in China, the 19th-century diplomat and Yale graduate known in America as Yung Wing:

My grandfather begins:

In 1901, after I was implicated in the T’ang Ts’ai-ch’ang case [the plot to blow up the armory], I fled to the safety of Shanghai. There my friend who had just returned from Japan, invited me to accompany him to Hong Kong to meet the famous Jung Ch’un-fu, who was known in America as Yung Wing.

It startled me when I first read this name in my grandfather’s book. I’ve been fascinated by Yung Wing for years. He was the first Chinese person ever to study in America; he graduated from my own alma mater, Yale, in 1854. After that he shuttled between America and China to champion better relations between the two countries, and in 1872 he launched the Chinese Educational Mission, which brought more than one hundred Chinese boys to study in New England. Yung Wing had an American wife, as did my grandfather, but this passage was my first notice that they personally knew each other.

Read original article on Medium HERE.