Novelist, poet, and author of Bestiary
About K-Ming Chang
Referred to as the “beacon of Gen Z excellence” by Rumpus, K-Ming Chang burst into the literary scene with her debut novel, Bestiary. A genre-bending, exquisitely-written ode to three generations of women shaped by the mythology of their Taiwanese heritage, their queer desires, and their violent secrets, Bestiary “reinvents the genres of immigrant novel, queer coming-of-age story, and mother-and-daughter tale” (Star Tribune). Her novel was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
Before her novel debut, K-Ming Chang was already a gifted poet whose poems have been anthologized in Ink Knows No Borders, Best New Poets 2018, and the 2019 Pushcart Prize Anthology. She also published a poetry collection, Past Lives, Future Bodies, which was a finalist for the 31st Annual Lambda Literary Award.
In her thought-provoking, energetic conversations, K-Ming Chang speaks about creating something that reflects the women she never sees in literature. She discusses how she uses her familial roots in indigenous Taiwan and her childhood diaries as a source of inspiration for novel writing. In her popular workshops with colleges and universities, Chang leads the audiences through exploring mythology, history, and non-Western storytelling structures to world-build, probe possibility, and blur the lines between the cosmic and the personal.
K-Ming Chang is also the author of Bone House, a micro-chapbook that is part of Bull City Press’s Inch series. One part love story and one part ghost story, Bone House is a queer Taiwanese-American retelling of Wuthering Heights. Her next book, Gods of Want, is a collection of startling stories that center on the bodies, memories, myths, and relationships of Asian American women. With each tale, Chang gives us her take on surrealism that mixes myth and migration, corporeality and ghostliness, queerness, and the quotidian. Stunningly told in her feminist fabulist style, these uncanny stories expose greater questions of power and memory. Gods of Want is the winner of the 2023 Lammy Award for Lesbian Fiction.
Her latest book, Organ Meats, is a vivid tale about female companionship and loyalty, in which two girls are bound by red string and canine heritage. Written in Chang’s signature poetic and visceral lore, this novel explores the horror and beauty of intimacy, being tethered to another person across time and space, and transforming our origins.
Among her accolades, K-Ming Chang is a Kundiman fellow and National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. She currently lives in California.
Fabulism and the Fantastic: Reimagining Realism
In this fun and engaging workshop, K-Ming Chang takes inspiration from mythological and speculative elements to reimagine what's possible in storytelling. "Reality" is often rigidly defined by people in power, but in this generative class, Chang prompts audiences to imagine outside of typical categories of "realism" in order to access memory, mythology, history, transformation, and non-Western storytelling structures to redefine reality in our stories. Mythmaking and folklore are often considered “of the past,” but Chang guides audiences into delving into folklore as futurity, allowing us to world-build, probe possibility, and blur the lines between the cosmic and the personal.
Myth & Memory: Writing Family Stories
Family stories can function as microcosms of collective histories, as the fabric of folklore, myths, and oral stories, and as spaces for personal and collective exploration. In this talk, K-Ming Chang explores the process of writing family narratives, examining the idea of “family” as a framework for survival, history, agency, and reclamation. Chang focuses on non-nuclear families and innovative strategies for telling family stories in a way that centers the marginalized, produces new forms and language, and makes space for invention. She includes guided writing prompts that allow the audiences to interact with family narratives to create spaces of subversion, resistance, and storytelling that expand beyond the self.
Exploring Queer Coming-of-Age
Coming-of-age stories are typically thought of as linear: a young or adolescent character grows up, moves away from, or defies their family, and finds independence and freedom in the outside world. However, in queer literature, coming-of-age is often circular or perpetual, subverting and redefining intimacy, self-exploration, and the definition of kinship. In this personable talk, K-Ming Chang seeks to reach beyond the conventionally represented experiences of “growing up,” redefining what freedom can look like and celebrating transformational states of being. Our perceptions of girlhood and daughterhood are often shaped by the threat of violence – what are ways to grapple with this while simultaneously imagining beyond inherited narratives as we come to terms with our own stories?
Praise for K-Ming Chang
Praise for Gods of Want
These stories glitter and pulse, announcing Chang, with her second book, as a front-runner of innovation anew. Full of mythic desire, joy and pain disguised as the other, and navigating the precarious balance of how to belong to a land while still belonging to oneself, Gods of Want is bursting with language and images so striking, so sure of their own strength, I found myself stunned. The worlds and characters depicted in these pages are original, strange, sometimes-horrific, and all the more gorgeous because of it.— Dantiel W. Moniz, author of Milk Blood Heat
In the genre of feminine madness, these stories are to be worshipped. They are fearless, hysterical, violent yet full of grace. Each sentence escalates toward devastating, poetic insight about our bodies, about cultural demands both treasured and feared, and about what makes being alive a terror and a joy.— Venita Blackburn, author of How to Wrestle a Girl
The beauty, humor, and brilliance throughout Gods of Want shines brightly from story to story—Chang’s collection is constantly illuminating and thoroughly astounding. K-Ming Chang’s mastery of language, and the boundlessness of her empathy, make for a strange, hilarious, and unforgettable read. Gods of Want is a gift and a master class, a stunning and moving work by one of our most brilliant authors.— Bryan Washington, author of Lot and Memorial
This book traces a line from old worlds to new worlds by means of the bloody umbilical cords that stretch between them. . . . These stories unthread the tangled relationships between mothers and daughter, aunts and cousins, siblings and lovers . . . a lingering sense that language, as well as life, is infinitely adaptable, no matter the ground on which it is given to grow. Lurid, funny, strange, and deftly sorrowing—an important new voice.— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Praise for Bestiary
Full of magic realism that reaches down your throat, grabs hold of your guts and forces a slow reckoning with what it means to be a foreigner, a native, a mother, a daughter—and all the things in between.— The New York Times Book Review
Bestiary blurs the lines between humans and animals, exploring the stories we tell about ourselves to survive.— The Wall Street Journal
Chang’s facility for making even mundane or traumatic events beautiful with words is a reminder that stories are, among other things, some of our very best survival tools.— NPR
Bestiary bursts open like delicious fruit. . . . Her lyrical imagery promises a better future, and Bestiary promises more great work to come from K-Ming Chang.— Los Angeles Times
Young queer love, family secrets, and a girl who grows a tiger tail, all told by a language obsessive? Extremely sold.— LitHub
K-Ming Chang, an extremely talented young Taiwanese-American author, offers a wild portrait of three generations of women who have in them tigers, snakes, and birds: the myths of their homeland.— The Millions
Epic and intimate at once, Bestiary brings myth to visceral life. K-Ming Chang’s talent exposes what is hidden inside us. She makes magic on the page.— Julia Philips, author of Disappearing Earth
I didn’t read this novel so much as become immersed in it, a jungle filled with surprises, countless moments of desire and pain and light.— Charles Yu, author of Interior Chinatown
“Chang is ferociously talented, one of my favorite new writers. Here is a book so wise, so gripping, so mythical and dangerous, so infused with surreal beauty, it burns to be read, and read again.— Justin Torres, author of We the Animals
Crafted at the scale of epic poetry . . . These are fables I wish I’d had growing up.— Elaine Castillo, author of America Is Not the Heart
An unflinching examination of unbreakable ties. You may want to look away, but K-Ming Chang won’t let you.— Thea Lim, author of An Ocean of Minutes
This searing, lush novel can’t be justly summarized—you must read it yourself, for K-Ming Chang is a fearless, singular talent.— Shawna Yang Ryan, author of Green Island
Fierce and funny, full of magic and grit . . . truly remarkable.— Tash Aw, author of We, the Survivors
A worthy heir to Maxine Hong Kingston, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, and Jamaica Kincaid, K-Ming Chang is a woman warrior for the twenty-first century—part oracle, part witness, all heart.— Jennifer Tseng, author of Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness
Books by K-Ming Chang
Media About K-Ming Chang
- 212 572-2013
- K-Ming Chang travels from California