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Celeste Ng

Author of the New York Times bestseller Everything I Never Told You

  • About Celeste Ng

    Celeste Ng is the author of the novels Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere, both of which were New York Times bestsellers, a New York Times Notable Book for 2014, and Amazon’s #1 and #2 Best Book of the Year for 2014 and 2017, respectively. Everything I Never Told You was also the winner of the 2014-2015 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in Adult Fiction.  In this literary thriller, Ng tells the story of a Chinese American family living in small-town Ohio in the 1970s whose middle child, Lydia, mysteriously disappears. As the family’s lives are uprooted, they are forced to confront long-held secrets that have been slowly pulling the family apart. Ng revisits issues of family, identity, and community in Little Fires Everywhere, a tense story of a picture-perfect town and family upended by the arrival of an artist and her daughter.

    In her novel and keynote presentations, Ng deftly explores issues of cultural identity, gender relations, and the struggles faced by multicultural families.

    Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio, in a family of scientists. She attended Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan), where she won the Hopwood Award.  Her fiction and essays have appeared in One Story, TriQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, the Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere, and she is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize. In June 2020, she announced the launch of a new internship grant program for adult publishing in collaboration with We Need Diverse Books. Currently, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  • Speaking Topics

    Everything I Never Told You

    This lecture is a discussion of Celeste Ng’s bestselling novel Everything I Never Told You—the story behind the book and the process of writing it. The audience will learn about the real-life seeds of the story as well as where fact and fiction intersect in the novel.

    On Writing and Science

    In this talk, Celeste Ng discusses her path to becoming a writer and how growing up in a family of scientists has influenced her work, as well as where she finds inspiration for her stories.

    The “Difficult” Woman

    Women and men in fiction are often held to very different standards: women characters (and the women who write them) are more often judged on “likability.” In this lecture, Celeste Ng discusses the concept of the “unlikeable” or “difficult” woman, its implications, and the need for creating complex characters.

    How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Being an Asian American Writer

    What does it mean to be an “Asian American” writer? In this talk, Celeste Ng discusses her own evolving relationship with the term, as well as larger issues of “ethnic” writing and cultural identity in fiction.

  • Video

  • Praise for Celeste Ng

    Praise for Little Fires Everywhere

    Takes unerring aim at upper-middle-class America’s blind spots…a nuanced study of mothers and daughters and the burden of not belonging to our families or our communities.


    “A captivating examination of motherhood, identity, family, privilege, and community.”


    This incandescent portrait of suburbia and family, creativity, and consumerism burns bright… As in Everything I Never Told You, Ng conjures a sense of place and displacement and shows a remarkable ability to see—and reveal—a story from different perspectives. The characters she creates here are wonderfully appealing, and watching their paths connect—like little trails of flame leading inexorably toward one another to create a big inferno—is mesmerizing, casting into new light ideas about creativity and consumerism, parenthood and privilege. With her second novel, Ng further proves she’s a sensitive, insightful writer with a striking ability to illuminate life in America.

    Kirkus Reviews (starred)

    Ng’s stunning second novel is a multilayered examination of how identities are forged and maintained, how families are formed and friendships tested, and how the notion of motherhood is far more fluid than bloodlines would suggest…[A] tour de force.

    Booklist (starred review)

    An intricate and captivating portrait of an eerily perfect suburban town with its dark undertones not-quite-hidden from view and a powerful and suspenseful novel about motherhood…Ng explores the complexities of adoption, surrogacy, abortion, privacy, and class, questioning all the while who earns, who claims, and who loses the right to be called a mother…an impressive accomplishment.

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    Witty, wise and tender. It’s a marvel.

    Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water

    Praise for Everything I Never Told You

    A "cleverly crafted, emotionally perceptive debut ... Ng's themes of assimilation are themselves deftly interlaced into a taut tale of ever deepening and quickening suspense."

    O Magazine

    Both a propulsive mystery and a profound examination of a mixed-race family... [an] explosive debut.

    Entertainment Weekly

    A]n accomplished debut... It's also heart-wrenching. Ng deftly pulls together the strands of this complex, multigenerational novel. Everything I Never Told You is an engaging work that casts a powerful light on the secrets that have kept an American family together — and that finally end up tearing it apart.

    The Los Angeles Times
  • Books by Celeste Ng

  • Media About Celeste Ng

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