Malinda Lo (she/her)

I write to put people like me at the center of books that I want to read, because I never had that experience when I was growing up. When I speak to students, writers, educators, and readers of all ages, I hope to leave them with a sense of possibility as well as community. The stories we tell can include all of us, and all of us are part of the community that can make that happen.”

Biography

Malinda Lo is the bestselling author of Last Night at the Telegraph Club, which received the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature, and was named a Best Book of 2021 by The Boston Globe, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Booklist, and NPR. She has also written several other young adult books, including Ash, which was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature. She is a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist.

Born in Guangzhou, China, Malinda immigrated to the United States as a child with her family, and grew up near Boulder, Colorado. Although she always wanted to be a writer, she studied Economics and Chinese Studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where she earned her B.A. She went on to earn a master’s degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard University and a master’s degree in cultural anthropology from Stanford University. Obviously, Malinda loved school, but she eventually realized she wasn’t cut out for academic life, and, in her late twenties, decided to pursue her dream of being a writer.

She began by freelancing for LGBT media publications, where she learned an important writing skill: how to meet deadlines. At the same time, she began working on her debut novel, Ash, a Sapphic retelling of Cinderella.

When Ash was published in 2009, Malinda was one of very few openly LGBTQ authors writing young adult literature, which motivated her to advocate for greater diversity and inclusion within YA. Her advocacy took the form of Diversity in YA, a website that she ran with fellow author Cindy Pon from 2011-15, as well as annual statistical analyses of LGBTQ representation in YA books. As a recovering academic, Malinda is especially pleased that real academics have quoted her research in their work!

Today, Malinda lives just outside of Boston with her wife and their dog, an adorable troublemaker named Leia (after the Princess). Her next novel, A Scatter of Light, is a coming-of-age novel set in 2013, and will be released in fall 2022.

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