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Hanya Yanagihara

Bestselling author of A Little Life and To Paradise and editor in chief of T

  • About Hanya Yanagihara

    Hanya Yanagihara is a critically acclaimed and bestselling novelist and the editor in chief of T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Following the publication of her debut novel, The People in the Trees–an anthropological adventure story and examination of cultural collision, colonization, and moral ambiguity–The New York Times declared Yanagihara “a writer to marvel at.” Her second work, A Little Life, was a National Book Award finalist, a Man Booker Prize finalist, and Kirkus Prize recipient. It appeared on numerous best books lists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Economist, Newsweek, and the Huffington Post among others. An astonishing odyssey of friendship, trauma, and the limits of solace; it  has gone on to become a cultural phenomenon. Her latest novel, To Paradise, debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. It is a bold, brilliant novel spanning three centuries and three different versions of the American experiment, about lovers, family, loss and the elusive promise of utopia.

    In her presentations, Hanya Yanagihara explores the themes of her novels as well as her journey to becoming a writer. Having published her first book at age 38 while still working full-time, Yanagihara encourages audiences to live creatively while balancing the demands of everyday life.

    Contact us for more information about booking Hanya Yanagihara for your next event.

  • Speaking Topics

    The Life of A Little Life

    Friendship, trauma, an alternative adulthood, the limits of love and healing: Yanagihara will speak about the themes she explores in her bestselling novel, A Little Life.

    Starting a Creative Life in Mid-Life

    Writing a novel at any age is difficult. But it's also possible. Yanagihara was 38 when her first book was published and working a full-time job as a magazine editor--as she was when her second book was published two years later. It's hard to do both: but it's also necessary . So how do you live a creative life when you have to earn a living—and how do you write when you feel you're all on your own?

  • Video

  • Praise for Hanya Yanagihara


    All of us are still basking in the afterglow of our wonderful experience with Hanya Yanagihara! The visit was a complete success. The conversation style event worked beautifully. She and Ania Spyra had a very natural rapport, and Hanya’s combination of brilliance and humor were so engaging.

    For our students who had studied her books, this was an especially meaningful experience. I think many of them were expecting someone too brilliant and creative to be approachable, and Hanya’s warm, down-to-earth attitude both at the public event and in the Q&A with the class was a lovely surprise for them. In short, she was a big, big hit with everyone!

    Butler University

    Praise for To Paradise

    Remarkable…The emotional impact of this novel is less visceral than A Little Life but only because the author’s scope is so vast and her dexterity so dazzling….To Paradise demonstrates the inexhaustible ingenuity of an author who keeps shattering expectations….she explores the dream of freedom that lures all these characters to risk everything for a paradise they desire but can barely envision. No matter the setting – past present or future – To Paradise stems from the hypnotic confluence of Yanagihara’s skills. She speaks softly, with the urgency of a whisper. She draws us into the most intimate sympathy with these characters while placing them in crises that feel irresistibly compelling.

    Ron Charles, The Washington Post

    We are given a patriarch, wealth, children; there is an arranged marriage, an inheritance, a true love, a class divide and a significant twist. Deftly paced and judiciously detailed, the tale makes hay with the conventions of the 19th-century novel. But that’s not all. With breathtaking audacity Yanagihara rewrites America….Yanagihara masterfully repurposes themes, situations and motifs…This ambitious novel tackles major American questions and answers them in an original, engrossing way. It has a major feel. But it is finally in [its] minor moments that Yanagihara shows greatness.

    Gish Jen, The New York Times Book Review (cover review)

    To Paradise is a transcendent, visionary novel of stunning scope and depth. A novel so layered, so rich, so relevant, so full of the joys and terrors—the pure mystery—of human life, is not only rare, it’s revolutionary.

    Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours

    To Paradise is a novel of the highest order. Yanagihara writes with elegance, evoking emotion and rendering believable characters who move the plot. Her perceptive eye is evident in the three separate settings, placing the reader in each time frame through multiple narratives, which she orchestrates with great acuity. Themes of love and belonging reign in Book I and Book II. In Book III, fear trumps love for a mimesis of reality, hitting close to home for all of us right now.

    Wayne Catan, USA Today

    Praise for A Little Life


    The Atlantic

    Elemental, irreducible.

    The New Yorker

    Exquisite…. It’s not hyperbole to call this novel a masterwork—if anything that word is simply just too little for it.

    San Francisco Chronicle

    A book unlike any other…. A Little Life asks serious questions about humanism and euthanasia and psychiatry and any number of the partis pris of modern western life…. A devastating read that will leave your heart, like Grinch’s, a few sizes larger.

    The Guardian

    [A Little Life] lands with a real sense of occasion: the arrival of a major new voice in fiction…. Yanagihara’s achievement has less to do with size… than with the breadth and depth of its considerable power, which speaks not to the indomitability of the spirit, but to the fragility of the self.


    Praise for The People in the Trees

    Exhaustingly inventive and almost defiant in its refusal to offer redemption or solace…. As for Yanagihara, she is a writer to marvel at.

    The New York Times Book Review

    Haunting…. A standout novel… thrilling.

    The Wall Street Journal

    Feels like a National Geographic story by way of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness…. The world Yanagihara conjures up, full of ‘dark pockets of mystery’, is magical.

    The Times (London)

    Fascinating and multilayered…. [Yanagihara’s] storytelling is masterful… Hugely ambitious and entertaining.

    The Boston Globe
  • Books by Hanya Yanagihara

  • Media About Hanya Yanagihara

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