Esmé Weijun Wang believes in creativity, resilience, and legacy. She is a novelist and essayist who was named by Granta as one of the “Best of Young American Novelists” in their once-in-a-decade list.
Esmé’s New York Times-bestselling essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias, won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize and the Whiting Award for Nonfiction. Of the collection, NPR writes, “The Collected Schizophrenias is riveting, honest…we are lucky to have it in the world.” Her debut novel, The Border of Paradise, was named a Best Book of 2016 by NPR and one of the 25 Best Novels of 2016 by Electric Literature.
In 2015, Esmé was diagnosed with late-stage Lyme disease, and she also lives with schizoaffective disorder. While these conditions create boundaries, they also inspire her to guide and support others who are dealing with difficult times. Esmé’s blog, “The Unexpected Shape,” provides encouragement, advice, and resources for people living with limitations. And she’s designed an online course, Rawness of Remembering, to teach the skills needed for withstanding challenging circumstances via restorative journaling.
In school, Esmé was known as the class clown. The highlight of her comedic career was when she made it to callbacks for Yale’s oldest sketch comedy troupe.
Local Libraries LIT (listen, initiate, talk) is a collaboration presented by every public library in Johnson County, Iowa, the University of Iowa Libraries, Kirkwood Community College Library, and the Tuesday Agency. The goal of the speaker series is to spark action to develop thriving communities.
This special speaker series is offered at no charge to participants. Donations are welcomed to help sustain and grow Local Libraries LIT. Thank you for giving as generously as you can.