Ever since her short story collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won the Guardian First Book Award in 2006, Yiyun Li has been hailed as one of the most original fiction writers of our time. Now Li has written a memoir, Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life, that mixes the literary and the personal to dazzling effect. Li talks to Cormac Kinsella about her new work, which explores everything from her time in the People’s Liberation Army to her decision to renounce her native tongue, and shares her thoughts on the writers that inspired her, including Katherine Mansfield, Elizabeth Bowen and, above all, her friend William Trevor.

Yiyun has the talent, the vision and the respect for life’s mysteries … [she] is the real deal Michel Faber
an exceptional writer The Daily Telegraph
Li is extraordinary Junot Diaz