Hi. I’m Esmé Weijun Wang, a writer, speaker, and founder of The Unexpected Shape Writing Academy. I believe that living with limitations is something that can exist alongside an ambitious life.

You’re a writer and you’ve got ideas on top of ideas, a pile of pages, and life limitations that feel utterly insurmountable. Do you ever just need a way to build life as a working writer—without having to “overcome” the very limitations that shape your life?

Well, you’re in just the right place.

That’s where I come in. 

True story: I’m a New York Times-bestselling writer and my disabilities often get in the way of what I want to do. 

Now, I help ambitious writers living with limitations to master the skills they need to become more confident, skilled memoir writers—to write work that adds to the literary canon with freedom and joy.

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.

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

The Basics

What kinds of things have you done?

I’m a writer and essayist—the author of the New York Times-bestselling essay collection The Collected Schizophrenias (2019), as well as the novel The Border of Paradise (2016), which was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2016 and one of Electric Literature’s Top 25 Novels of 2016; I was selected by Granta for their once-a-decade Best of Young American Novelists list of 21 authors under 40. I’ve also made appearances on the Today Show, NPR’s Weekend Edition, KCRW, the New York Times, the CBC, Flavorwire, and the New Yorker Online.

What I'm 


Notion. Salty plum powder. Spring in Taiwan. Live theater. The curious feeling of wonder. BBQs. Bar karaoke. Fountain pens. Carol. Raw oysters. Long phone calls with my BFF. 

What I'm 


Beloved. The Haunting of Hill House. Lolita. His Dark Materials. Babel. Gilead. Rebecca. Whatever book I'm considering blurbing at the moment. Some kind of decidedly predictable mystery/thriller that I nonetheless enjoy.

What I'm 

listening to

The Softies. The Decemberists. The Rondelles. Bikini Kill. Nicholas Britell. Atticus Ross & Trent Reznor soundtracks. Podcasts all the time: Normal Gossip, Love to See It & Rich Text, Ruined!, and more.

assorted facts

I'm a Gemini Sun and a Capricorn rising, a 4 on the Enneagram, and an INFJ according to Myers-Briggs. I used to be voice actor for educational DVDs, which I did after becoming a regular on a children's TV show. A Taiwanese dramatic miniseries was created about my grandmother, who is now deceased.





"[Esmé Weijun Wang] finds light in her daily quest to help others create, despite the limitations they may face."

— New York Times, Women in the World

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.

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



Trinity Ray, The Tuesday Agency
Office: 319-338-7080 • Mobile: 319-400-9031



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