Celeste Ng is an American author. So far, she has released two novels, with one being Everything I Never Told You and the other being Little Fires Everywhere. Besides that, Ng has released a number of short stories as well. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Celeste Ng:
1. She Has a Chinese Name
Ng has a Chinese name as well. In Mandarin, her Chinese name would be pronounced as Wu Qishi, with the Wu being her family name and the Qishi being her personal name. However, it is important to note that Ng’s parents came from Hong Kong, meaning that her Chinese name should be pronounced based on the rules of Cantonese. Mandarin comes from northern China whereas Cantonese comes from southern China, with the result that the two are not mutually intelligible even though they are written using the same system.
2. Her Parents Came From Hong Kong
As mentioned earlier, Ng’s parents immigrated to the United States from Hong Kong in the 1960s. Both of them were very well-educated. For proof, Ng’s father was a physicist who worked at the John H. Glenn Research Center for NASA, while Ng’s mother was a chemist who taught at Cleveland State University.
3. Born in Pittsburgh, PA
Ng was born in Pittsburgh, PA. It is interesting to note that said city was once an industrial center of the United States. On the one hand, this made it a popular destination for people from both within and without the United States; on the other hand, this resulted in huge amounts of pollution being released into its surroundings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Pittsburgh was one of the cities that were affected by industrial restructuring in the second half of the 20th century. However, it was successful in changing the nature of its economic base, though it has never managed to return to its previous population heights.
4. Grew Up in Shaker Heights, OH
Later, Ng’s family moved to Shaker Heights, OH, which can be considered a Cleveland suburb. Some people might be curious about the city’s name. If so, they should know that Shaker Heights is indeed named for the Christian sect called either the Shakers or the Shaking Quakers because of their ecstatic behavior in services. Otherwise, the members were famous for being pacifistic egalitarians who believed in simple, celibate, and communal living. In the present time, there is one remaining Shaker village, which is home to a very small number of Shakers.
5. Her Favorite Book Was Harriet the Spy
In her childhood, Ng’s favorite book was Harriet the Spy. For those who are unfamiliar, Harriet the Spy was a children’s novel that came out in 1964. In short, the book is centered on the titular character who wants to become an author when she grows up. To this end, Harriet observes other people and records her observations in a brutally honest notebook, which causes a great deal of trouble for her when she loses it. Harriet the Spy is considered to be something of a landmark when it comes to children’s literature, not least because of its incredible popularity.
6. Her Favorite Book Is The Joy of Small Things
Nowadays, Ng’s favorite book is The Joy of Small Things. For those who are curious, the novel is centered on fraternal twins whose lives are destroyed by “love laws.” The Joy of Small Things is very interested in both caste tensions and cultural tensions, which exert influence on most of the relationships between the characters in the novel. Moreover, it is concerned with the notion that true love is so powerful that it cannot be controlled by social convention, though it is still very much possible for social convention to crush true love.
7. Grew Up in a Very Welcoming Place
It is interesting to note that Ng’s parents chose Shaker Heights for its excellent schools as well as its racial integration. Thanks to the latter, Ng had a positive childhood, though she has since learned that other communities are by no means guaranteed to be as progressive as Shaker Heights. As such, both the blatant and the subtle examples of racism that come up in her books are very much things that have happened to either her, her friends, or her family members.
8. Always Interested in Writing
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ng has always been interested in writing. However, she didn’t take the idea of becoming a full-time writer very seriously even when she was a child inclined towards the impractical. In those times, Ng wanted to become a paleontologist and then an astronaut, which would eventually give way to more practical careers such as editing, journalism, and university education. Still, Ng continued writing throughout the entire course of her education thanks to much encouragement from other people, with the intent of writing as a side pursuit. It wasn’t until she had come out from graduate school that she decided that she could become a full-time writer.
9. Had a Side Thing As a Crafter
At one point in time, Ng thought that being a professional writer would be like being a professional crocheter. Amusingly, she actually did have a side thing as a crafter that was made possible by the Internet. In short, Ng produced clay miniatures that she sold through a website that she set up in 2000, which was a rather awkward time for e-commerce. The concept existed. Moreover, the concept was proving its potential. However, the dot-com collapse had a negative effect on e-commerce, with the result that its development was slowed down to some extent.
10. Interested in Supporting Other Asian-American Writers
Ng is an established author who has taken an interest in promoting other Asian-American writers. To some extent, this is because of empathy. Basically, she has been in their position, meaning that she wants to lend a helping hand now that it is possible for her. However, it is also a matter of representation. As she sees it, there is a common perception that it is possible for there to be one successful female Asian-American writer, which is something that she wants to change because there is a wide range of female Asian-American writers out there doing a wide range of different things.
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