Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
|Education||Odyssey Writing Workshop, |
University of Cambridge
|Alma mater||Georgetown University|
Rebecca F. Kuang (born 1996) is a Chinese-American fantasy writer.
She emigrated to the United States from Guangzhou, China, with her family when she was four years old. Kuang's father grew up in Leiyang, in Hunan province; her mother grew up on Hainan Island. Her mother's father fought for Chiang Kai-shek. Her father's family experienced the Japanese conquest of Hunan.
Kuang grew up in Dallas, Texas and graduated from the Greenhill School in 2013. She went on to Georgetown University, attracted by the college's well-known debating team. Halfway through college, Kuang was 19 when she began writing Poppy War during a gap year in China, where she worked as a debate coach; the book was published when she was 22. Kuang graduated from the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2016 and attended the CSSF Novel Writing Workshop in 2017. She graduated from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service in June 2018. She spent the summer after graduation coaching a debate camp in Colorado.
Her debut novel The Poppy War, a Chinese military fantasy, was published by Harper Voyager in 2018 and is the first book in a planned trilogy. The Poppy War has received mainly favorable reviews, with Publishers Weekly calling it "a strong and dramatic launch to Kuang’s career".
As of May 2018, the draft of Kuang's second book is finished.
The Poppy War
The Poppy War, a grimdark fantasy, draws its plot and politics from mid-20th-century China, with the conflict in the novel based on the Second Sino-Japanese War, and an atmosphere inspired by the Song dynasty. Harper Voyager’s editorial director David Pomerico acquired the novel after a heated auction on Kuang’s 20th birthday. The novel centers on a poor orphan Rin who trains in secret to test into the elite Sinegard Academy. Kuang said Rin’s life is meant to parallel the trajectory of Mao Zedong. Grounded in the real-world history of Chinese wars and adding a fantasy drug element inspired by the Opium Wars, The Poppy War is a dark and fatalistic tale of warfare. When a conflict surfaces between the Nikara Empire and their neighboring nation, Mugen, Rin is called to the front lines. She must decide whether to make a deal with the gods to unleash her shamanic powers. Her decision may change the war but result in the loss of her humanity. Kuang wrote The Poppy War while teaching debate in China and graduated with a degree in Chinese History from Georgetown University a few days after its release. Her studies in Chinese military strategy and collective trauma inspired her to write the novel. She said, "I chose to write a fantasy reinterpretation of China's twentieth century, because that was the kind of story I wasn't finding on bookshelves".
- "Georgetown Author R.F. Kuang Speaks on Upcoming Novel 'The Poppy War'". 2017-12-10. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
- Randall, Kayla (20 July 1018). "How a Georgetown Student Published Her Epic Fantasy Debut—Before She Turned 22". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
- "R. F. Kuang". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
- Kidd, James (25 July 2018). "China's bloody history and Game of Thrones-style fantasy unite in author R.F. Kuang's debut novel". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
- Junzhou, Qiu; Shilong, Yang (7 June 2018). "Feature: Young Chinese American writer tells forgotten WWII history in fantasy setting". Xinhua. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
- "Alumna Rebecca Kuang '13 Awarded 2018 Marshall Scholarship". Greenhill School. 5 September 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
- "First Novel in Trilogy by Recent Grad Draws on Georgetown Studies". Georgetown University publicity office. 17 July 2018. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
- "R.F. Kuang Stuns With Her Debut Fantasy Novel, The Poppy War". RT Book Reviews. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
- "Fiction Book Review: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. Harper Voyager, $26.99 (544p)". PublishersWeekly.com. ISBN 978-0-06-266256-9. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
- "R.F. Kuang - Interview". BookPage.com. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
- "Cover Story: R.F. Kuang's The Poppy War, an Epic Debut Inspired by 20th Century China". The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog. 2018-01-11. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
- "15 Best New Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books: May 2018". Nerd Much?. 2018-05-01. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
- Mason, Everdeen (2 May 2018). "Best science fiction and fantasy books out this month (brief book review)". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
- "A Light in the Grimdark: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang". Tor.com. 2018-05-02. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
- "The 12 gripping science fiction and fantasy novels you need to check out this May". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
- "R. F. Kuang Interview – The Poppy War « Fantasy-Faction". fantasy-faction.com. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
- Nam, Michael. "'The Poppy War' book review: A magical, brutal coming-of-age tale in a medieval Asian fantasy world - NY Daily News". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
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