Brian Leung was born and raised in San Diego County, a somewhat unlikely location given that his mother was born in Battleground, Washington and his father escaped from China in 1949. For many years Brian lived in Los Angeles, where he studied the city's kinetic diversity and found his literary voice. Today he resides in a Shotgun house built in 1898 in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to being an Associate Professor at the University of Louisville, and a novelist, he is an avid collector of original animation art and also, the work of the famed graphic artist, Charles Harper.
Brian's second novel, Take Me Home, earned a starred review in Kirkus reviews.It is set in 1885 Wyoming and is centered around Adele (Addie) Maine, a determined, feisty young woman who leaves Kentucky to join her brother in homesteading. Not long after her arrival, Addie is confronted by something wholly new to her, Chinese people. Indeed, the novel is backgrounded by the historical event of a riot in which twenty-eight Chinese coal miners were massacred in Rock Springs.
As readers and reviewers alike have commented, the intersections of disparate lives are a hallmark of Brian's fiction. His acclaimed story collection, World Famous Love Acts, shows a remarkable range of characters, each powerfully rendered. A testament to his storytelling, the collection won the Mary McCarthy Award in Short Fiction and the Asian American Literary Award for fiction.
2007 saw the publication of his first novel, Lost Men with a French edition following in 2008. Subsequent to the French publication, he was a guest of Festival America in Vincennes, France. Lost Men amplifies the best qualities of his short fiction and about which Publisher's Weekly writes "Leung gingerly reacquaints an estranged father and son who travel through China in this sagacious and lyrical debut novel." An Italian edition is forthcoming in 2009.
Brian's fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in Story, Crazyhorse, Grain, Gulf Coast, Kinesis, The Barcelona Review, Mid-American Review, Salt Hill, Gulf Stream, River City, Runes, The Bellingham Review, Hyphen, Velocity, The Connecticut Review, Blithe House Quarterly, Indiana Review, Crab Orchard Review, Crowd, and in the short story anthology The Habit of Art. He is also the co-author of the non-fiction humor title, Not Another Feel Good Singles Book.
The recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, Brian earned his B.A. and MA. at California State University, and an M.F.A from Indiana University.
This biography was last updated on 11/16/2011.
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The Story Behind Take Me Home
I climbed to the top Pilot Butte, a fantastic formation of orange rock jutting up and out of the grayish green Wyoming landscape not far from Rock Springs. It sits on the plain like an oil tanker at anchor, and the view from its peak reveals something like an ocean caught in freeze frame, an undulating, unpopulated vista, unpopulated except for wild horses and the shadows of single clouds sliding over the surface like dark slugs. Wind in my face, sun at my back, I said it aloud. "They've been here."
I was speaking about the characters in Take Me Home, the novel for which I had yet to write a single word. But I'd been thinking about them for years, knew my heroine Addie Maine as well as if we'd met every day over a breakfast of venison and hard coffee. She would have insisted on bringing Wing Lee to Pilot Butte, and not far off, to the great white Killpecker Dunes. But I also knew that very willfulness, the fact of a white woman hiring a Chinese man and befriending him that would be the fuel, if not the match to all their troubles.
When my own parents met in the 1960s it was difficult enough for a white woman and a man recently arrived from China to imagine a future...
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