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Doretta Lau's short story collection How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun? (Nightwood Editions, 2014) was shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award, longlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and named by The Atlantic as one of the best books of 2014. She was a finalist for the Journey Prize in 2013 and has written on arts and culture for Artforum International, South China Morning Post, The Wall Street Journal Asia, ArtReview, and LEAP. Lau completed an MFA in Writing at Columbia University. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Day One, Event, Grain Magazine, Prairie Fire, PRISM International, Ricepaper, Room Magazine, sub-TERRAIN, and Zen Monster. Lau splits her time between Vancouver and Hong Kong, where she is writing a comedic novel about an inept company struggling to open a theme park about death and an essay collection about navigating volcanoes, illness, and other enormities on the worst timeline. She is the cofounder of a humour and culture website, The Unpublishables.

Award History

2013 Finalist

Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize
for How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?

Jury Citation

“Brimming with restless energy, ‘How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?’ is a sometimes provocative portrait of adolescent angst and rebellion set among a gang of ’dragoons’ growing up in Vancouver. It vividly brings to life a twenty-first-century culture clash and illuminates the struggles, and alienation, of Chinese youth – whether from Hong Kong or the Mainland – now living in ‘Lotus Land.’ Doretta Lau’s story positively hums, the language a well-shaken cocktail of influences ranging from hip-hop and Asian cinema to Chinese history and ‘the slang of the West.’ As vibrant and colourful as graffiti.” — 2013 Journey Prize Jury (Miranda Hill, Miguel Syjuco, and Alison Pick)

Works recognized by WT

How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?