The Best American Essays 2023
Guest Editor: Vivian Gornick; Series Editor: Robert Atwan
XUJUN EBERLEIN.   Ms. Daylily   51
from The Iowa Review
(The Best American Essays 2023 includes Ciara Alfaro • Jillian Barnet • Sylvie Baumgartel • Eric Borsuk • Chris Dennis • Xujun Eberlein • Sandra Hager Eliason • George Estreich • Merrill Joan Gerber • Debra Gwartney • Edward Hoagland • Laura Kipnis • Phillip Lopate • Celeste Marcus • Sam Meeking • Sigrid Nunez • Kathryn Schulz • Anthony Siegel • Scott Spencer • Angelique Stevens • David Treuer)
The 2021 Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction
Judge: Melissa Febos
Winner: Xujun Eberlein, “Ms. Daylily” (The Iowa Review, 51.3/52.1)
“This story stole my breath. A daughter becomes a detective of her mother’s life, unfolding over nearly a century, from an assault that preceded her parents’ marriage, through Mao’s Anti-Rightist Campaign and Cultural Revolution, to posthumous revelations—it is a story of queer love, devastating betrayal, long marriage, political revolution and its private consequences. Rarely have I read a work so sweeping and so achingly intimate, drawn with a careful and skilled hand, a system of images and artfully excerpted diary entries that draw the constellation of a life, of multiple lives, their gorgeous and devastating entwinement.” —— Melissa Febos
The Best American Essays 2015
"Clouds and Rain over Three Gorges"
(American Literary Review Nonfiction Contest Winner)
I teach multi-week courses at GrubStreet,
one of the nation's leading creative writing centers.
AREAS OF INTEREST
Personal essay, memoir, short story, flash fiction and nonfiction, experimental forms of prose. I'm devoted to teaching craft and helping writers find the best structure for their stories.
Memoir Incubator 2023-2024
Advanced Memoir Workshop, spring 2023
Advanced Memoir Workshop, fall 2022
Nonfiction Workshop: Revision Focus
Advanced Personal Essay Workshop
Memoir in Progress
"I have now taken quite a few classes at Grub Street, and this one was by far the best one in terms of pushing my productivity to exciting places. Xujun expected a lot of us, and I got so much done. I honestly can't believe how much my project and my practice have changed over these past ten weeks. I'm very grateful."
"The class was absolutely fantastic. Xujun Eberlein is a very gifted teacher, indeed. She is kind but tough, encouraging everyone to do their best work and to participate. Her feedback is more extensive and helpful than any I've had before, and she inspires all of us to move forward toward book publication. The writers were also gifted, but she pulled the best out of us. She is especially good at challenging us to think of inventive ways of telling our stories. I also found a writing group as a result of this group. I'm so very grateful!"
"Xujun is an excellent teacher. Her reading list inspires rich discussion and she pushes her writers to grow and take chances. I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to work with her."
"That class was well beyond my hopes and expectations. Xujun is the real deal! Her expertise and insights as well as her strictly and organized approach made the class such a fantastic learning experience. I am so pleased with all I have gained as a writer!!!"
"Xujun is a superb teacher. I felt that on the first day and it was borne out through the sessions. Her incisive comment on student work, her supportive attitude, and the depth of her knowledge of the genre and field, as well as her choice of assigned readings, all contributed to this. I would take a class with her again any day."
Can one translate poetry without knowing the source language? Certainly that was what Ezra Pound did. (image from internet)
[In translation] Two years ago, I bought a tiny flat from a stranger. While making some minor changes to the old interior, the electrician I hired found problematic wires.
"Why did you choose to start the book with Snow Line and Pivot Point and to place The Randomness of Love next to the end?"
After two laborious years, the hexagonal pavilion (六角亭) Bob and I started in September 2009 is finally finished.
Bob starts his month-long bike trip across America today,using the same Trek bike he traveled with in China almost exactly 22 years ago.
A reader named "anonymous" questioned me, "So why then did you come to America?" He seemed very upset about that.
Xujun Eberlein is an immigrant writer who has lived half a life each on two sides of the globe. Her personal essay, "Ms. Daylily," was selected for The Best American Essays 2023.
The essay also won the prestigious Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction,
judged by Melissa Febos, who commented that "Rarely have I read a work so sweeping and so achingly intimate, drawn with a careful and skilled hand, a system of
images and artfully excerpted diary entries that draw the constellation of a life, of multiple lives, their gorgeous and devastating entwinement.”
Xujun received the artist fellowship in fiction/creative nonfiction from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her debut story collection, APOLOGIES FORTHCOMING, won the Tartt First Fiction Award, while her nonfiction writing has been recognized by The Pushcart Prize and The Best American Essays.
Her work can be found in AGNI, American Literary Review, Asia Literary Review, Brevity, Iowa Review, Iron Horse, Meridian, Michigan Quarterly Review, New England Review, Night Train, Post Road, Prism International, Stand, StoryQuarterly, Walrus, and elsewhere. In addition to literary magazines, she also wrote for Foreign Policy and LA Review of Books.
Xujun holds a Ph.D. in Transportation Science from MIT and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Emerson College. She currently teaches creative writing at GrubStreet.
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