MFA in Writing

Xu Xi / Visiting Faculty, Fiction

Xu Xi

Xu Xi 許素細 is the author of thirteen books, most recently Insignificance: Stories of Hong Kong (Signal 8 Press, 2018), a memoir Dear Hong Kong: An Elegy For A City (Penguin, 2017), the novel That Man In Our Lives (C&R Press, 2016) and Interruptions (Hong Kong Univ. Museum & Art Gallery, 2016), a collaborative ekphrastic essay collection with photography by David Clarke. 

Forthcoming is This Fish is Fowl: Essays of Being, (American Lives Series, Univ. of Nebraska Press, March, 2019) and The Art & Craft of Asian Stories, co-edited with Robin Hemley (Bloomsbury Academic, London, 2019-20). She is also editor of four anthologies of Hong Kong writing in English. Xu is Faculty Co-Director of VCFA’s International MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation.

In 2001, The New York Times named her a “pioneering writer in English from Asia.” Awards include an O. Henry prize story, the Ploughshares Cohen award for short fiction, the South China Morning Post story contest prize, a NYFA fiction fellowship. Her novel Habit of a Foreign Sky (Haven, 2010) was a finalist for the inaugural Man Asian Literary Prize; Asiaweek named her fiction collection Daughters of Hui one of the top ten books of Asia of 1996; her novel The Unwalled City (Chameleon, 2001) was HK Magazine’s pick for the top fifteen must-read books about the city of Hong Kong. Most recently, her essay “The English of My Story” was selected for the notable essays & literary nonfiction list in The Best American Essays of 2016, and an excerpt from her novel-in-progress Memories of You (“2016: The Political Year”) was a finalist for the 2017 Glimmer Train Fiction Open.

Xu was previously a core faculty for two low-residency MFA’s, including at VCFA where she also served one term as faculty chair, and at City University of Hong Kong where she established and directed Asia’s first low-residency program. She has been a visiting faculty writer at several universities, including Arizona State University’s Virginia G. Piper’s Center for Creative Writing, the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction MFA, the Philippines National Writing Workshops at Silliman University in Dumaguete, Stockholm University, Lingnan University in Hong Kong, Sun Yat Sen University of Guangzhou and the University of Hong Kong. She was also a resident writer at the Chateau de Lavigny, Switzerland; Kulturhuset USF; Norway; the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando, Florida, among others. Prior to teaching, she had an eighteen-year parallel career in marketing and management in the U.S. and Asia, including at Pinkerton’s, Federal Express and Dow Jones’ Asian Wall Street Journal, until she surrendered completely to her writing life in 1998 and never looked back.

Xu holds a MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is co-founder, with Robin Hemley, of Authors at Large offering international writing retreats and mentorships, and is also fiction editor-at-large at Tupelo Press in Massachusetts. An Indonesian-Chinese Hong Kong native and U.S. citizen, she inhabits the flight paths between New York and the world. Follow her @xuxiwriter on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn.