Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Rachel DeWoskin  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Born: 1972 in Kyoto, Japan

Sites:


Illinois Connection

DeWoskin teaches fiction at the University of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Rachel DeWoskin graduated from Columbia University and moved to Beijing to work in Public Relations, but ended up starring in the hit Chinese soap opera ''Foreign Babes in Beijing''. After spending time there and returning to the US, she earned a masters in poetry from Boston University and published a memoir about her experiences on the Chinese soap, which had 600 million viewers. DeWoskin’s memoir is currently in production with HBO. Currently, DeWoskin is on the creative writing faculty at the University of Chicago and divides her time between Chicago and Beijing.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China
ISBN: 0393328597

W. W. Norton & Company. 2006

“For a real insider’s look at life in modern China, readers should turn to Rachel DeWoskin.”―Sophie Beach, The Economist

Determined to broaden her cultural horizons and live a “fiery” life, twenty-one-year-old Rachel DeWoskin hops on a plane to Beijing to work for an American PR firm based in the busy capital. Before she knows it, she is not just exploring Chinese culture but also creating it as the sexy, aggressive, fearless Jiexi, the starring femme fatale in a wildly successful Chinese soap opera. Experiencing the cultural clashes in real life while performing a fictional version onscreen, DeWoskin forms a group of friends with whom she witnesses the vast changes sweeping through China as the country pursues the new maxim, “to get rich is glorious.” In only a few years, China’s capital is transformed. With “considerable cultural and linguistic resources” (The New Yorker), DeWoskin captures Beijing at this pivotal juncture in her “intelligent, funny memoir” (People), and “readers will feel lucky to have sharp-eyed, yet sisterly, DeWoskin sitting in the driver’s seat”(Elle).

Repeat After Me: A Novel
ISBN: 1590202228

The Overlook Press. 2009

A dazzlingly rich and funny novel by "a real China doll" (Entertainment Weekly)

Rachel DeWoskin is a writer who has been lauded for her "razor-sharp descriptions" (The Wall Street Journal), her "considerable cultural and linguistic resources" (The New Yorker), and her rare ability to offer a "real insider's look at life in modern China" (The Economist). Now DeWoskin, author of the laughout-loud funny and poignant Foreign Babes in Beijing, returns with a new novel about modern China and one American girl's struggle to find herself there.

Aysha is a twenty-two-year-old New Yorker putting the pieces of her life back in place after her parents' divorce and her own nervous breakdown when a young Chinese student named Da Ge flips her world upside-down. In a love story that spans decades and continents, from the Tiananmen Square incident to 9/11, New York City's Upper West Side to the terraced mountains of South China, Repeat After Me gives readers an alternately funny and painful glimpse of life and loss in between languages.

Big Girl Small: A Novel
ISBN: 0374112576

Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2011

Judy Lohden is your above-average sixteen-year-old—sarcastic and vulnerable, talented and uncertain, full of big dreams for a big future. With a singing voice that can shake an auditorium, she should be the star of Darcy Academy, the local performing arts high school. So why is a girl this promising hiding out in a seedy motel room on the edge of town?

The fact that the national media is on her trail after a controversy that might bring down the whole school could have something to do with it. And that scandal has something—but not everything—to do with the fact that Judy is three feet nine inches tall.

Rachel DeWoskin remembers everything about high school: the auditions (painful), the parents (hovering), the dissection projects (compelling), the friends (outcasts), the boys (crushable), and the girls (complicated), and she lays it all out with a wit and wistfulness that is half Holden Caulfield, half Lee Fiora, Prep’s ironic heroine. Big Girl Small is a scathingly funny and moving book about dreams and reality, at once light on its feet and unwaveringly serious.

Blind
ISBN: 0670785229

Viking Books for Young Readers. 2014

When Emma Sasha Silver loses her eyesight in a nightmare accident, she must relearn everything from walking across the street to recognizing her own sisters to imagining colors. One of seven children, Emma used to be the invisible kid, but now it seems everyone is watching her. And just as she’s about to start high school and try to recover her friendships and former life, one of her classmates is found dead in an apparent suicide. Fifteen and blind, Emma has to untangle what happened and why—in order to see for herself what makes life worth living.

Unflinching in its portrayal of Emma’s darkest days, yet full of hope and humor, Rachel DeWoskin’s brilliant Blind is one of those rare books that utterly absorbs the reader into the life and experience of another.


Awards

-- '''''Repeat After Me''''' -- *Book of the Year, ''Forward'' Magazine, 1989

-- '''''Big Girl Small''''' -- *Top Three Books, Newsday, 2011

-- *Alex Award, American Library Association, 2012

-- '''''Blind''''' -- *Library Guild Selection

-- *Starred Review, Kirkus

-- *ILLINOIS READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2016