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Ling Ma

Born: Sanming, China
Connection to Illinois: Ma lives in Chicago.

Biography: Ling Ma is a fiction writer. She was born in Sanming, China and grew up in Utah and Kansas. Her debut novel Severance, named a NYTimes Notable Book, has been translated into eight languages. A recipient of the Whiting Award and an NEA fellowship, she lives in Chicago, where she enjoys visiting her favorite indie bookstores.

  • -- Winner of the 2019 NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award Winner of the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Fiction Winner of the 2019 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award Winner of the 2019 Friends of American Writers First Prize in Literature Finalist for the 2019 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel Shortlisted for the 2019 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Debut Speculative Fiction A New York Times Notable Book of 2018 An NPR Best Book of 2018 An Elle Best Book of 2018 A Marie Claire Best Book of 2018 A Buzzfeed Best Book of 2018 A Refinery29 Best Book of 2018 A Jezebel Favorite Book of 2018 A Bustle Best Book of 2018 An Electric Lit Best Novel of 2018 A Lit Hub Best Book of 2018 A BookPage Best Book of 2018 A Bookish Best Book of 2018 A Mental Floss Best Book of 2018 A Chicago Review of BooksBest Book of 2018 A HuffPost Best Fiction Book of 2018 An Electric Literature Best Book of 2018 An A.V. Club Favorite Book of 2018 A Jezebel Favorite Book of 2018 A Vulture Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Book of 2018 Longlisted for the Aspen Words Prize A Book of the Month Club Selection for December 2018 Shortlisted for the 2018 Chicago Review of Books Award New York Magazine Approval Matrix, Highbrow Brilliant An Indie Next Great Reads Selection A Southern Living Best New Book of Summer 2018 A Millions Most Anticipated Book of 2018 An Alma Favorite Book for Fall A Nylon Best Book of Summer 2018 A Chicago Magazine Summer Reading Pick A Library Journal Summer Fall Best Debut Novel An April Magazine Most Anticipated Book of 2018 A BookBub Laugh-Out-Loud Book of 2018 A Library Journal Debut With Credentials A Refinery29 Best New Book of August 2018 A Greenlight Bookstore Pick in Brooklyn Paper

Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

ISBN: 1250214998 OCLC: 1004911431

Picador 2019

Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine. With the recent passing of her Chinese immigrant parents, she's had her fill of uncertainty. She's content just to carry on: She goes to work, troubleshoots the teen-targeted Gemstone Bible, watches movies in a Greenpoint basement with her boyfriend. So Candace barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps New York. Then Shen Fever spreads. Families flee. Companies cease operations. The subways screech to a halt. Her bosses enlist her as part of a dwindling skeleton crew with a big end-date payoff. Soon entirely alone, still unfevered, she photographs the eerie, abandoned city as the anonymous blogger NY Ghost. Candace won't be able to make it on her own forever, though. Enter a group of survivors, led by the power-hungry IT tech Bob. They're traveling to a place called the Facility, where, Bob promises, they will have everything they need to start society anew. But Candace is carrying a secret she knows Bob will exploit. Should she escape from her rescuers? A send-up and takedown of the rituals, routines, and missed opportunities of contemporary life, Ling Ma's Severance is a moving family story, a quirky coming-of-adulthood tale, and a hilarious, deadpan satire. Most important, it's a heartfelt tribute to the connections that drive us to do more than survive.