Faculty, MFA in Creative Writing
Residency Site: Port Townsend WA

Email
aimee.liu@goddard.edu

Biography

Aimee Liu is author of the novels Flash House, Cloud Mountain, and Face. Her nonfiction includes Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders, and a memoir, Solitaire.  She also has co-authored more than seven nonfiction books and written numerous articles on medical, psychological, and political topics.  She earned her MFA from Bennington College.  www.aimeeliu.net

Education

MFA in Writing and Literature, Bennington Writing Seminars, Bennington College
BA in Fine Arts, Yale University

Areas of Expertise

Creative Writing: Fiction and Nonfiction

Personal Statement

Students are often instructed to “write what you know.” I prefer the suggestion, “Write what you deeply and truly want to know.” I write in order to understand. This process began with the diaries I kept as a child. At age twenty-five, I sought through my memoir Solitaire (Harper & Row, 1979) to understand anorexia nervosa – years before “eating disorders” became a household term. In my first novel, Face (Warner, 1994), I explored the identity collisions that so often occur within mixed-race families. My second novel, Cloud Mountain (Warner, 1997), was my attempt to comprehend two grandparents I had never known and, through their story, a father who always seemed an enigma to me growing up. In my third novel, Flash House (Warner, 2003), I struggled to make sense of the unintended consequences that so often occur when well-intentioned people – and cultures – attempt to “rescue” those who don’t necessarily wish to be rescued. And most recently, in Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders (Warner, 2007), I’ve tried to make sense of all that I could not understand about eating disorders when I was recovering from one back in the 1970s.

I believe writing is a journey as varied and unpredictable as each writer’s curiosity. In my opinion, the role of a teacher is to offer students support, encouragement, and constructive criticism to facilitate that journey. What a writer needs to hear is not so much what a teacher likes as what works, and what doesn’t. Does the piece hold together with a consistent and authentic narrative voice? Is the world as created on the page believable and vital? Are the characters and their problems compelling? Is there passion in the prose? Of course, when the answer to these questions is no, the job of the teacher is to offer suggestions for fixing the problems – but not to explicitly spell out how the fix “should” be done. I believe that good writing can be nurtured. It can be assisted. It cannot be imposed. My goal as a teacher, then, is to equip students with the necessary skills to make the writer’s journey. They must dig deep within themselves to discover where that journey will take them. My own writing career has led me in many unexpected directions both on and off the page. My fiction and nonfiction have been published in periodicals ranging from Self and Cosmo to the literary magazine Other Voices, as well as in several recent anthologies. I’ve served as president of the national writers’ organization PEN USA, and mentored young novelists through PEN’s Emerging Voices program. At UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program I’ve taught a variety of classes and workshops. And at age 50 I decided to earn my MFA through the Bennington Writing Seminars. Returning to school for this degree was a gift to myself and to my career. The journey is ongoing. For more information, please visit my web site at: Aimee Liu.

Publications

  1. restoring_our_bodies
    Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our Lives: Guidance and Reflections on Recovery from Eating Disorders (Editor)Trumpeter2011
  2. face_in_mirror
    "Becoming International." The Face in the Mirror: Writers Reflect on Their Dreams of Youth and the Reality of AgePrometheus Books2009
  3. gaining
    Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating DisordersGrand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books)2007
  4. For Keeps: Women Tell the Truth about their Bodies, Growing Older, and Acceptance
    "Dead Bone." For Keeps: Women Tell the Truth about their Bodies, Growing Older, and AcceptanceSeal Press2007
  5. Why I'm Still Married: Women Write their Hearts out on Love, Loss, Sex, and Who Does the Dishes
    "A Great Wall." Why I'm Still Married: Women Write their Hearts out on Love, Loss, Sex, and Who Does the DishesPlume2006
  6. Meeting Across the River: Stories inspired by the Haunting Bruce Springsteen Song
    "The Other Side." Meeting Across the River: Stories inspired by the Haunting Bruce Springsteen SongBloomsbury2005
  7. flash_house___aimee_liu
    Flash HouseWarner Books2004
  8. my_california
    "Transients in Paradise." My California: Journeys by great writersAngel City Press2004
  9. cloud_mountain___aimee_liu
    Cloud MountainWarner Books1997
  10. face___aimee_liu
    FaceWarner Books1994
  11. solitaire___aimee_liu
    SolitaireHarper and Row1979

Events

  1. Writing Workshop with Aimee LiuApril 26, 2015 2:00 pm