Juli Min on the Setting of Shanghailanders

Welcome to I’m a Writer But, where writers discuss their work, their lives, their other work, the stuff that takes up any free time they have, all the stuff they’re not able to get to, and the ways in which any of us get anything done. Plus: book recommendations, bad jokes, okay jokes, despair, joy, and anything else going on that week. Hosted by Lindsay Hunter.    


Today, Juli Min discusses her debut novel, Shanghailanders, as well as starting with place, working toward the backward-in-time structure, writing sisters, writing “mean” characters, the notion of home, the work of writing historical fiction, how becoming a mother made her fearless as a writer, the Shanghai lit scene and more!

From the episode:

Juli Min: Shanghai is enormous–it’s of a scale that’s unimaginable. It’s 25 million people living here. And even size-wise, it’s this enormous city with satellite cities, and it’s an ancient city as well, part of this ancient country. It’s got so many different sections, even, visually, that could represent so many different parts of its history. That’s all part of the experience of this city–just this incredible sense of futurism and being on the cutting edge, being huge, taking big steps, and then also the past, which is ever-present and, in many ways, traumatic, beautiful, romanticized. It’s really a city of contradictions.



Juli Min is a Korean-American writer based in Shanghai. She holds an MFA in fiction from Warren Wilson, and she studied Russian and comparative literature at Harvard University. Her novel Shanghailanders will be published in May 2024 by Spiegel & Grau (US) and Dialogue Books (UK). Translations are forthcoming in Japanese, German, Spanish, and Norwegian.

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