Monthly Archives: February 2012

Book burning in April, NYC

Event: Book burning within reach. Book signing and meet the author.

Place: New York City (Exact locations to be announced soon)

Date: ? April   (Dates to be announced soon)

April is the cruelest month: It is the month of …book burning! Join Julie O’Yang & Prof. Robert Masterson from the University of New York. Two authors burn their own books as a commemorative ritual. Book signing and meet the authors afterwards!

Novelist Julie O’Yang will be talking to Professor Masterson’s creative writing class: On breaking rules  and work towards the amazing, the unusual, the strange, the irrational.


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Love, Lust, Anger, Pain and Hope…A review

…reading this book became even more delightful as I could feel the cultural interventions and intermingling going on. The constraints, the frictions have been beautifully structured in the book by Julie. Love, Lust, Anger, Pain and Hope would stain your eyes time and again, as you experience them along with the character every now and then. This is the kind of book that you read from cover to cover and when you are done, it changes you. Transforms you.From Cover to Cover.

Read the full review of my novel BUTTERFLY by the very best Neverland reviewer Priyanka Dey:

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Butterfly, A novel by Julie O’Yang now available in print!

Click below to eStore>>>

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You read, therefore U-R.

You read, therefore U-R. Therefore I AM.

Click on the link to discover my secret windows:

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Re-writing rules of beauty (& some superfluous explanations)

Today I received this link in my inbox, have a look first:

Tell me which is your favourite sentence. Mine is this one: “At dinner parties you turn away from self-published writers.” You want to know the truth?


As for why. Look at me. Do I look fifty-ish? Man (and ugly is a plus point)? Speaks no language other than the one he is supposed to speak and writes about Chinese countryside life that is sublimated by publishers  for wrong and selfish reasons ?

Right. I’m only a woman, and as far as you know, I’m reasonably attractive, and clever and intelligent and speak four languages fluently plus things I don’t even bother to mention for the peacesake of your mind. What’s more inconvenient: I can think. I don’t need no one to tell me what to write. And yes, I LOVE underestimation, too.

For your info — and for me never to forget — I left my Dutch publisher and said twice good-bye to two agents I worked with. I left my past for what it is and made my own choice. It’s a CHOICE. Don’t make me say it again as I may think I’m talking to a sheep. Oh, another sentence I loved from the linked article: “…they do not need to earn grand sums of cash in order to maintain a living at this (and damage the reputation of those publishers).” Life is so much sweeter with a cause.

One thing from the article which deserves my attention, however. “Ebooks are being driven by downmarket genre fiction.” That’s why my other post today and the whole point and necessity  of my establishing The Lobachevsky Prize. (You do that again, underestimate the power of my eyebrows.)

I close my case with Oscar wilde’s words: “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” And I hate typos.

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Everything flows: On salt water, pillow book and the 21st century

                               Everything flows | salt water & ink on canvas

What has salt water done?

The Danish writer Isak Dinesen (read HER!) said once: “The cure for anything is salt water. Sweat, tears or the sea.”

The series of canvas mosaic spell out: City, and it’s done with salt water. I wanted to paint the sea of life with sea and hoped to cure whatever imperfection there is to be cured. For, art is about the/a process.

I want to say two things with today’s blog post; two things that flow together towards a new century. Mark my words: the 21st century is about “flow”, and when I look deep into my crystal ball, the “flow” tells me that it’s the golden age of NEW reading awaiting us in the offing. It is up to us if we miss the call again or not.

On 21/01/2012 (note the mysterious symmetry),  Liam Lyles posted on his facebook status a list of dead people, which I now re-named as The honeywell project. I decided it’s a poem. It reads like this:

 …………………The honeywell project

Richard Sheirer, 65, American public servant,

///////////officer-in-charge of the rescue and recovery effort after

the September 11 attacks, pulmonary edema.

The Senator, American bald cypress,

………………………….world’s fifth oldest known tree, fire.


Marv Davidov, 80, American peace activist

……………………….The Honeywell Project.


Sándor Fehér, 38,

………………………..Hungarian violinist, drowned.


Natalee Holloway, 18,

……………………American student, missing since 2005.

(declared legally dead.)


Poetry is an orphan of silence. The words never quite equal the experience behind them. Liam’s words are poetry out loud.

Liam’s list brought my thoughts to a classic work, The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon, who is able to turn endless, ordinary lists into literature with a big L.

Her lists breathe such freedom! No need to worry about the cadence, flow or order of sentences – just the satisfaction of getting directly to the heart of things and churning out concrete, meaningful stuff. Lists as Art, written by a woman who lived in the 11th century Japan and served EmpressTeishi.
The Pillow Book is entirely non-linear, so modern that the reader has to remind himself from time to time that it’s written 1000 years ago. A collection of observations and stories of life unfolding around an opinionated gentlewoman, who is funny, sharp-eyed and captures those unspoken nuances of human interaction with breathtaking precision and insight that her simple words bring tears to  your eyes. Sei can talk about weather and make it read like a love affair you will never forget. Yes, Sei is priceless.
But I’m not here to eulogise Sei, it’s the genre I’m talking about, which has survived the test of time and made Sei’s writing timeless and universal because it’s NOT a genre.
Suibi (Zuihitsu in Japanese), “the flowing brush”, consists of loosely connected personal essays and fragmented ideas that are responses to the author’s surroundings. You can take any topic and go in any direction with it.

“Flowing brush” is a theme arching, genre arching “genre”  that lingers between reality show, journalism and everyday philosophy. Its power lies in its directness and its immediacy, and its description of things that no-one else notices except you, things that give you confidence, things that make the heart lurch with anxiety, love and, yes, regret, because life flows away and that’s why you need to keep a list of the precious, highly personal moments.

“Things that are far yet near: paradise… the course of a boat… relations between men and women,” wrote Sei Shonagon.

“The Magician of Kume, the legend runs, lost his magic power through looking at a maiden washing clothes. This may well have been, for here was no charm from without, but the real beauty of plump and glistening limbs,” wrote  Yoshida Kenko (14th century) on Beauty and its terror.

Kenko continues: “To wile away the idle hours, seated the livelong day before the inkslab, by jotting down without order or purpose whatever trifling thoughts pass through my mind, truly this is a queer and crazy thing to do!”

Are you a list maker? I thought so.

Let your life flow then through your random pen. Register the intimate moments of your floating, everyday life and be the creator of your own pillow world.

In the 21st century, the reader is the writer! Panta Rhei.

*This post is part of the event “I have a date with you in 2012: Lobachavsky Prize” on my Amazon Author’s Page. Find out more about the Lobachevsky Prize here (scroll down to event &forum).

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It just takes writers like O’Yang to flip the light switch on. A review.

Butterfly, A novel by Julie O’Yang

  By Gabriel Ricard

The title of Julie O’Yang’s beautiful, passionate and fascinating new novel is initially quite deceptive. It will eventually make sense to those who take the time to read through a narrative so rich in image and experience that it’s almost poetic first and foremost, but just looking at the cover reveals nothing. Some titles reveal too much. Others are intriguing in their ambiguity. Anything from either of those camps can get your attention for different reasons. Something as simple as Butterfly can have a thousand possibilities surrounding it. O’Yang clearly has reasons for choosing it, and those reasons are important, but the title is really just a formality. You aren’t going to know what’s waiting for you until you dive in to her original, lovingly detailed story and characters. As you read further along, and with Butterfly this is quite easy to do, a title like Butterfly becomes more than its most simple definition. It cuts away those thousand possibilities, but leaves behind several intriguing ideas.

Butterfly is a book that reminds you of the joy of discovering a treasure, and wondering why there aren’t a few hundred-thousand more who have already found it before you. The book was only released last year, but it continues to slowly build an audience who still understand the thrill and gratitude behind discovering writers through simple happenstance. Julie O’Yang words wear a collective heart on their sleeve, and it doesn’t take very long at all to be pulled head-first into this novel.

To call Butterfly a love story is a fine means of introducing its basic plot, but it goes much deeper than that. To call O’Yang’s considerable writing achievement a love story set against a historical backdrop, as difficult to capture in fiction as that of the World War II/Sino-Japanese war is a little closer, but it’s still not the sum of what this book accomplishes. Indeed, this is a good place for the reader to start, a place to bring us into the affairs of its two main characters, an older Chinese woman brought to the point of collapse by insurmountable heartbreak, and a much-younger Japanese soldier who harbors his own tragedies and secrets. These are characters strong enough to carry their own separate stories. Woven together by O’Yang’s spirited, multi-layered narrative they create an account of complex, dangerous love that fleshes them out as fully as a character could ever hope to be. A great story springs from their romance, and it could have held together a novel even longer than the one O’Yang released. It’s not much of a knock against a story when the worst thing you can say is that it left you wanting more. What we do have is a story whose soul simply has riches to spare. It gives us a tightly-written-yet-profound beginning, middle and end.

Nothing is wasted in terms of plot, characters, dialog and even metaphor. Nothing is taken for granted. What we do take from Butterfly, particularly the ending, is what we take from any work of art whose impact on us is this substantial. We see an entire world opened up for us through a singular work of fiction, and we can’t believe that it’s actually been there the whole time. It just takes writers like O’Yang to flip the light switch on. >>>

>>> Review originally published in Unlikely stories.

Butterfly, A novel. Buy print version on Amazon or Barnes&Noble online store. Also available in all eBook formats, including iPad, Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader and many more.

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Stories with a hole in it | Tales from Xanadu

Young Chronicle is an e-Zine I’m contributing to every month. My monthly column is my support of YOUNG, NEW reading, my creativity, and my exploration into an ultra-modern form of literature in our transmedia age.

Here is Tale #2. (Tale #1)

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“History is written only once, so is Butterfly by Julie O’Yang.” Read a new review of my novel

“History is written only once, so is Butterfly by Julie O’Yang.” And so Trishit Banerjee, Founder & Editor Young Chronicle, started his review. He went on: “I would regard this as one of the best books I have ever read. With such exquisite feelings, the book compels the readers to go back and read the same sentence again and again for this extraordinary work of literature is filled with jaw-dro…pping mysteries in every page. Reading this book reminds me of Arundhati Roy’s ‘The God of Small Things’, a Man Booker Prize Winner for the year 1997. Through the eyes of a young boy who is just capable enough of carrying satchel to the classroom, I would never regard Julie’s work as a work of the wrinkled times, for, great stories remain in the minds of the reader for the years to come irrespective of the age. Like the vibrant colours of the butterfly, the book leaves a gleaming impression on the minds of the reader. Set in the turbulent times of Sino-Japanese War, a fatal love story between a married Chinese woman and a young Japanese soldier, the book takes you on a turbulent ride, through ups and downs of aggression, drama, love and ravishingly selected words. A climax behind the scenic Yangtze river, keeps the reader pondering long after the book is read. It makes me remind of the legendary and notable Hindi writer, Premchand, whose characters in the stories can be related by any person in the world at some stage of his life. I would surely wish good luck to Julie for the journey in the world of love, loss, aggression, forlorn and above all suppressed feelings which need to resurface itself in this literary world.” As a token of my appreciation and thank you, I offer you the free read of Chapter 2 from my website. Scroll down et voila.

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