Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Women Writers of Color: Wendy Wan-Long Shang

Full name: Wendy Wan-Long Shang

Hometown: Fairfax, Virginia

Current location: Falls Church, Virginia

Website/Blog:; I also belong to a blog of middle-grade writers called

Genre: middle-grade fiction

WiP or most recently published work: The Great Wall of Lucy Wu

Writing credits: The Great Wall of Lucy Wu, plus some legal publications. I have an article in The 4:00 Book Hook, a monthly e-newsletter on children's books, coming out next month.

How frequently do you update your site? monthly

Is your site designed for reader interaction? no

Post of note, something in particular you want readers to check out:

On the Mixed-Up Files, we really pride ourselves on covering everything related to middle-grade books. I was very proud to showcase a children's book club for teachers at my son's school. Here is the link.

Top 5 books that turned you into a writer?

Blubber, by Judy Blume: This was the first book I ever read that had a contemporary, Chinese-American character. This book taught me the importance of having characters that children can relate to.

Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri: Her prose is so delicate yet powerful. I have to say that the first time I read her work, I felt as though I was reading in a whole new way.

Take the Cannoli, by Sarah Vowell: Her work makes me laugh and think in equal measure. I would love to have that effect on a reader.

Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster: For me, Juster didn't color outside the lines. He invented new colors, and molded the lines into new dimensions. Rarely a day goes by without some quote from that book popping into my head.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Kongisburg: Everything about this book is a marvel to me: the structure, the voice, the style. I love that in the midst of an incredible story, the author never lost sight of the hearts of the children.

100 words or less: How would you describe your work?

My work is about the modern Chinese-American experience, frequently with a humorous touch. In my book, Lucy Wu thinks she is about to have the best year of her life: she is about to rule the school as a sixth-grader and get her own room. When her dad announces that he's invited a long-lost aunt from China to stay in Lucy's room, however, she thinks that year is ruined. Lucy discovers that, just like the Chinese saying that things that look to be bad often turn out well, and vice-versa, her year may yet be wonderful.

100 words or less: Please share your thoughts on children and reading.

I believe that writing for children is a form of service. When you give a child a chance to see himself or herself reflected back in a book, whether it is by appearance or circumstance, you are telling that child, you are valued, you are not alone. When you give children the chance to see the world from a different point of view, you are also doing something valuable – you are allowing them to expand their perspective, their knowledge, their imagination and their heart.


jama said...

Yay Wendy! Love Lucy Wu. Thanks for the nice feature :).

Doret said...

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu was great and I loved Lucy

Sayantani said...

wonderful interview, Wendy! I really loved your comments about writing children's literature being a form of service! Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I've seen The Great Wall of Lucy Wu around. It looks like an awesome read. Great interview, too.

Anonymous said...

I love the line "A form of service". (My family lives in Falls Church--most of them-a fine town indeed!)I teach 6th grade, and will look at the book as a possible class read for next year. Thank you.