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Celeste Ng, whether you have heard the name or not, is one of the most powerful writers of our time. Her books have weaved themselves seamlessly into the lives of more than two and a quarter million people. It is a staggering number of souls that many authors strive to infiltrate. Her debut novel Everything You Never Told Me will soon hit the big screen and will star the gifted Julia Roberts. Meanwhile, her other novel Little Fires Everywhere is being developed for television by Hello Sunshine, which is a production company founded by Reese Witherspoon.
In her books, she illustrates the struggles that many face in the United States, predominantly in relation to race. Everything I Never Told You tells the story of the daughter of an interracial couple. It takes place in the 70s, which means it had only just become legal to marry someone who was not your race in the United States. This book is a beautifully written demonstration of what it is like to come from an immigrant family and how race effects not only life outside your family, but within it. It provides a glimpse into a family dynamic that is delicate and full of history. Little Fires Everywhere follows a family who wants to adopt a Chinese-American baby abandoned by her mother and how this situations divides their suburban Ohio town. It highlights a powerful points about class, race and family and became one of last year’s most popular books. Ng explores characters so fluidly that we as readers start to explore the characters ourselves. Ng’s writing transcends these pieces into works of art that penetrates the hearts of readers.
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Ng uses not just her books, but her platform, for literary activism. In just the past month, she joined a bunch of other writers who are calling for the right to give their characters rights in their future novels; this is to raise money for immigrant families who wish to reunite with their families. Her twitter has a following of 95,000 followers and instead of using this platform for just herself, she uses it as a platform for voices, she believes, deserve to be heard.
Image Via Celeste Ng Twitter
Being a daughter of immigrants from Hong Kong, Ng said in an interview with the New York Times that she “doesn’t want to be the single story of the young, Asian-American woman writer” and that she wants people to know that “there are lots of other Asian women, even Chinese-American women, who are doing all kinds of stuff that I’m doing.” Celeste will continue to use her stance to help those be heard who deserve to be heard and encouraging us writers to continue with our voices.
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