Hi, friends, I'm ESMÉ (PRONOUNCED EZ-MAY)

Possesses No Chill

Notebook Collector

GLAMOUR ADORER

Taiwanese American

Devoted Dog Mum

I’m a writer. My essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias, was a New York Times bestseller; its publication is the result of having won the 2016 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize. My debut novel, The Border of Paradise, has received accolades and kind words from places such as LitHub, NPR Books, and the Chicago Review of Books; I was selected by Granta for their once-a-decade Best Young American Novelists list of 21 authors under 40. In 2018 I received the prestigious Whiting Award for Nonfiction. I write essays that have been published in the Believer, Catapult, Hazlitt, and Salon. Finally, my short story, “What Terrible Thing It Was,” was featured in the Best American Short Stories 2018 anthology.

I’m also the founder of The Unexpected Shape™ Writing Academy, which is a full-service online writing school for people with limitations who want to write memoir and/or personal nonfiction. We've had phenomenal guest lecturers like T Kira Madden, Hanif Abdurraqib, and Leslie Jamison, and our students have gone on to nab book deals and publish in top-tier publications.

I hope to help you here with a variety of resources: I offer a series of emails called Encouragement Notes, which are encouraging and uplifting and totally free of charge. I attempt to make work that brings delight to readers and viewers alike. That hopefully includes you.

To dig in further to my work for ambitious people living with limitations, I recommend exploring THE SHOP.

The Academy Bulletin

Are you interested in writing personal nonfiction? Would you like to learn more about it, and also receive a free 10-Day MFA course via email? Subscribe to The Academy Bulletin!

The Shop

The Writing Academy

The Book Proposal Kit

The 10-Day MFA

It’s tough to be ambitious and dealing with limitations. But just because you have limitations—whether they be disability, chronic illness, or any other life circumstance that causes you feel fenced in—doesn’t mean you can’t go on to build resilience and a legacy.

Part of my work is to provide resources for ambitious writers living with limitations. In addition to The Unexpected Shape™ Writing Academy, I've created online courses such as Dream Hunting with Limitations; teach live workshops online about writing fiction and nonfiction, including as a visiting professor at an MFA program; and lead writing workshops in person all over the country.

I’m also a woman who lives with chronic illness, including physical and mental illness (which I write about in The Collected Schizophrenias). These conditions create boundaries for my life; they also inspire me to guide and support others who are dealing with difficult times.

Finally: I'm a public speaker represented by the Tuesday Agency, and travel around the world to give talks, take part in documentaries, and visit with students. In doing so, I hope to bring awareness to the great stigma society carries to the topic of mental health, and to allow people who live with limitations to feel less alone.

The Unexpected Shape™ provides online education about creative writing and personal development, for ambitious peopLE living with limitations.

as seen in:

Speaking Engagements

I believe in eliminating the stigma around mental health so that we can create better policies and be kinder to others (and ourselves).

I believe in redefining ambition to better include people living with limitations like chronic illness and disability.

RECENTLY:
Princeton University
USC Gould Law School
Portland Book Festival
Zarrow Keynote
Starbucks Coffee Talk

 Representation

LITERARY AGENT
JIN AUH, THE WYLIE AGENCY
JAUH@WYLIEAGENCY.COM

SPEAKING REPRESENTATION
Trinity Ray, The Tuesday Agency
trinity@tuesdayagency.com
Office: 319-338-7080 • Mobile: 319-400-9031

PUBLICITY
publicity@esmewang.com

ASSISTANT
dan@esmewang.com

"Storytellers are a threat. They threaten all champions of control, they frighten usurpers of the right-to-freedom of the human spirit—in state, in church or mosque, in party congress, in the university or wherever."


read my

essays/articles
books
short stories

Have your fill of essays, articles, short stories, and books that I've written over the years.

SOME PIECES

A Life in Banquets (Bon Appetit)

Peony (short story) (McSweeney's)

An Interview with Andrew Garfield (The Believer)

Revere (short story) (Lenny)

I'm Chronically Ill & Afraid of Being Lazy (Elle)

The
Unexpected Shape Newsletter

The Unexpected Shape with Esmé Weijun Wang is a newsletter with 10,000+ subscribers for thoughtful softies and ambitious writers living with limitations, written by award-winning, New York Times-bestselling author of The Collected Schizophrenias, Esmé Weijun Wang (that's me!).

Each week, you'll receive a personal essay of something I've been mulling over and won't be publishing anywhere else—whether about the matrilineal hauntings in my family line or eating fake eggs in the psych ward. As the writer of a short story that was in the Best American Short Stories anthology and a Notable essay in the Best American Essays anthology, I love what I do, and I want to share it with you.

weekly essays for thoughtful softies 

If you're into vintage clothing, books books books, daily moodboards, film photography, and everyday beauty? You've come to the right place. 

Sign up to receive The Unexpected Shape, my love letters to you.

The Unexpected Shape with Esmé Weijun Wang is a newsletter with 9000+ subscribers for thoughtful softies, written by award-winning, New York Times-bestselling author of The Collected Schizophrenias, Esmé Weijun Wang (that's me!).

Each week, you'll receive a personal essay of something I've been mulling over and won't be publishing anywhere else—whether about the matrilineal hauntings in my family line or eating fake eggs in the psych ward. As the writer of a short story that was in the Best American Short Stories anthology and a Notable essay in the Best American Essays anthology, I love what I do, and I want to share it with you. Sign up today and receive inspiring and joy-inducing emails in your inbox.