Distilling that year sums to two major events: I sold my debut novel, The Border of Paradise (Unnamed Press); I was diagnosed, after several years of illness, with late-stage Lyme disease—a diagnosis that I would later question, but that seemed to explain the extreme physical symptoms that I was suffering, and would continue to suffer for many years.
The beginning of my career as an emerging writer therefore dovetailed with the realization that my life was to be full of new challenges. As someone living with chronic illness and schizoaffective disorder, my life became constrained by limitations that immediately butted up against the desires of my ferociously ambitious self.
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.
You can also find me as the founder of The Unexpected Shape™ Writing Academy, which is a full-service online writing school for people with limitations who want to write 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.
To dig in further to my work for ambitious people living with limitations, I recommend exploring The Shop.
Part of my work is to provide resources for ambitious writers living with limitations. I’ve created online courses such as Dream Hunting with Limitations. I teach live workshops online about writing fiction and nonfiction, in addition to writing workshops in person all over the country.
In addition to this, I’m 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.
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.
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.
Beloved. The Haunting of Hill House. Real Life. 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.
The Softies. The Decemberists. The Rondelles. Bikini Kill. Nicholas Britell. Atticus Ross & Trent Rexnor soundtracks. Podcasts all the time: Normal Gossip, Love to See It & Rich Text, Ruined!, and more.
Keeping on going is one of the hardest things we can do. Abortion must be legal and available to all. Involuntary hospitalization has never helped me, but I am open to the idea that it has and does help others. We should all be as kind as we can.
"[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
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.
USC Gould Law School
Portland Book Festival
Starbucks Coffee Talk
JIN AUH, THE WYLIE AGENCY
Trinity Ray, The Tuesday Agency
Office: 319-338-7080 • Mobile: 319-400-9031
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