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Jenny Zhang - book author

Jenny Zhang is the author of books: Sour Heart, Dear Jenny, We Are All Find, Hags, The Selected Jenny Zhang, Why Were They Throwing Bricks, My Baby First Birthday, March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women, Through Clenched Teeth, American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures, Politically Inspired

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01
A fresh new voice emerges with the arrival of Sour Heart, establishing Jenny Zhang as a frank and subversive interpreter of the immigrant experience in America. In this debut collection, she conjures the disturbing and often hilarious experience of adolescence through the eyes of Chinese American girls growing up in New York City. Her stories cut across generations and continents, moving from the fraught halls of a public school in Flushing, Queens, to the tumultuous streets of Shanghai, China, during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. In the absence of grown-ups, latchkey kids experiment on each other until one day the experiments turn violent; an overbearing mother abandons her artistic aspirations to come to America but relives her glory days through karaoke; and a shy loner struggles to master English so she can speak to God.

Narrated by the daughters of Chinese immigrants who fled imperiled lives as artists back home only to struggle to stay afloat — dumpster diving for food and scamming Atlantic City casino buses to make a buck — these seven stories showcase Zhang's compassion and moral courage, and a perverse sense of humor reminiscent of Portnoy's Complaint. A darkly funny and intimate rendering of girlhood, Sour Heart examines what it means to belong to a family, to find your home, leave it, reject it, and return again.
02
"Jenny Zhang's poems broadcast themselves with a surrealist anxiety. 'Can't I be my own dream?' she asks. The answer is always yes and always no. With dizzying energy and intelligence, Zhang forages through familial, global, and even anatomical configurations vainly outlining an identity that manifests only to shift and move restlessly on. This book brings to mind a 21st century Whitman, only female, Chinese, and profoundly scatological."—Elizabeth Robinson

Author City: BROOKLYN, NY USA

Jenny Zhang was born in Shanghai and raised in New York. She is a graduate of Stanford University and The Iowa Writers' Workshop. DEAR JENNY, WE ARE ALL FIND is her first book.
03
"These hags, these great beauties, these mermaids who taunt, who feast, who slash, who steal, these succubae who cannot rest, my mothers, my sisters, my unborn friends, my keepers, my guardians": Powerhouse Jenny Zhang on identity, love, art, and living with rage.
04
In the Emily Books original publication The Selected Jenny Zhang, we're delighted to be offering the first collection of Jenny Zhang's work in ebook format, including some work no longer available in print. This collection features the chapbooks previously published as Dear Jenny, We Are All Find and HAGS as well as the essay "How It Feels."

HAGS was previously published by Guillotine. Dear Jenny, We Are All Find was previously published by Octopus. "How It Feels" was previously published by The Poetry Foundation. You can visit Jenny on the web at jennybagel.com.
06
My Baby First Birthday is about existence and non-existence. It’s about being born—without consent. Jenny Zhang writes about accepting pain, about the way we fetishize womanhood and motherhood, and reduce women to their violations, traumas, and body parts. She questions the way we feminize and racialize nurturing, and live in service of other people’s dreams. How we idealize birth and being baby, how it’s only in our mothers’ wombs that we’re still considered innocent, blameless, and undamaged, because it’s only then that we don’t have to earn love. Her poems explore the obscenity of patriarchy, whiteness, and capitalism, the violence of rescue and heroism. The magic trick in this book is that despite all these themes, the book never feels like some jeremiad. Zhang uses friendship as a lyric. She seeks tenderness, radiant beauty, and having love for your mistakes. Through all this, she writes about being alone—really alone, like why was I ever born alone—and trying, despite everything, to reach out and touch something—skin to skin, animal to animal.
07
For the 150th anniversary of the publication of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, acclaimed authors Kate Bolick, Jenny Zhang, Carmen Maria Machado, and Jane Smiley come together to explore their strong lifelong personal engagement with this beloved American novel—what it has meant to them and why it still matters. Each writer takes as her subject one of the four March sisters, reflecting on their stories and what they have to teach us about life.

Kate Bolick finds parallels in oldest sister Meg’s brush with glamour at the Moffats’ ball and her own complicated relationship with clothes. Jenny Zhang confesses to liking Jo least among the sisters when she first read the novel as a girl, uncomfortable in finding so much of herself in a character she feared was too unfeminine. Carmen Maria Machado writes about the real-life tragedy of Lizzie Alcott, the inspiration for third sister Beth, and the horror story that can result from not being the author of your own life’s narrative. And Jane Smiley rehabilitates the reputation of youngest sister Amy, whom she sees as a modern feminist role model. These four voices form a deep, funny, far-ranging meditation on the power of great literature to shape our lives.
08
THROUGH CLENCHED TEETH is an anthology of lyric writing by some of today's most exciting female-identified voices. The pieces are a violent rejection of patriarchal culture and coalesce around anger, resistance, otherness, and shock.

As Adrienne Rich, in her poem "Natural Resources," said, "I am tired of faintheartedness, / their having to be exceptional / to do what an ordinary woman / does in the course of things / I am tired of women stooping to half our height / to bring the essential vein to light . . ."

So say we.

It's our visceral response to the election of Donald Trump, to the Republican Party's repeated attempts to police women's bodies.
09
An emotionally and politically charged collection of first person accounts from prominent citizens in a variety of fields about their experiences being first generation Americans, with a powerful foreword written by actress and activist America Ferrera.

From award-winning actress and political activist America Ferrera comes an absorbing and fascinating collection of essays written by prominent Americans from a variety of fields about their experiences being first generation Americans. As the daughter of Honduran immigrants, Ferrara is enthusiastic to share dozens of personal stories from notable actors, comedians, athletes, politicians, artists and entrepreneurs about assimilating into American culture while remaining inextricably connected to the mother tongue and the father land. Contributors to the book will include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Roxane Gay, Issa Rae, Kal Penn, Padma Lakshmi, Liza Koshy, Uzo Aduba, Al Madrigal, Anjelah Johnson, Carmen Perez, Wilmer Valderrama, Kumail Nanjiani, Jeremy Lin, Joy Cho, Jenny Zhang, Laurie Hernandez, Michelle Kwan, Ravi Patel, and many others. Ranging from heartfelt to hilarious, the essays in AMERICAN LIKE ME will appeal to anyone from a first generation family; those interested in identity, particularly national identity; and anyone with a complicated relationship to family, culture, and growing up.
10
“Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.”
—Pablo Picasso

The news media can’t help but leave out a certain personal element from every story. Reading fiction gives us the freedom to envision unlikely connections between characters, overhear conversations in bedrooms and on neighborhood streets, focus in on a child’s thoughts, and linger in unfamiliar places. Politically Inspired is a collection of thirty original short stories, cartoons, and illustrations that illuminate many of the political events and questions of our time.

Each of these inventive fictional worlds offers a new perspective on today’s politics of fear, desire, and destruction. We see the President of the United States wake up as a fifth-grader in Minneapolis, peek into a classroom where young boys wear burqas, and read an endearingly eccentric letter to a girlfriend on a hijacked plane. Both highly imaginative and deeply relevant, Politically Inspired reveals the myriad ways in which politics shapes our daily lives.

All royalties from Politically Inspired will benefit Oxfam America’s humanitarian response in Iraq.