Yiyun Li was born in 1972. She grew up in Beijing and emigrated to the United States after university to study medical science. She started writing in English, her second language, in her late twenties, and has since published three books to critical acclaim. Her debut collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (2005), won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the Guardian First Book Award, and the PEN/Hemingway Award, among others.
Her novel, The Vagrants (2009), was shortlisted for IMPAC Dublin Award and her recent collection, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl (2010), was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and was a finalist of the Story Prize. She was selected by Granta as one of the 21 Best Young American Novelists under 35, and was named by the New Yorker as one of the top 20 US writers under 40. The MacArthur Foundation named her a 2010 Fellow.
She lives in California, USA.