Lydia Kiesling

Lydia Kiesling is an American author and literary critic. Her debut novel, The Golden State, was published in September 2018 by MCD Books, a division of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.[1] From 2016 to 2019 she was the editor of the San Francisco-based literary magazine The Millions.[2]

The Golden StateEdit

The Golden State follows a new mother, Daphne, whose Turkish husband, ensnarled in visa complications, is unable to return to the US; overwhelmed by the demands of parenthood, Daphne takes leave from a bureaucratic office job at a large university to go on a road trip to rural Northern California with her daughter.[3] Literary critics have described the book as a subversion of traditional American road trip tropes in literary narrative, as well as a "journey in the visceral and material realities of motherhood" (Sarah Blackwood, The New Yorker).[4][5] The book was long-listed for the 2018 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.[6] It also earned Kiesling acclaim from the National Book Foundation, which named her one of their "5 Under 35," a recognition for debut writers.[7][8]

Education, prior work, and personal lifeEdit

Kiesling received an undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.[9] She taught English in Istanbul, Turkey soon after graduating.[10] She has studied Turkic languages and is an alumna of the Critical Language Scholarship Program.[11]

Prior to writing The Golden State, Kiesling directed outreach at UC Berkeley's Center for Middle Eastern Studies for 3 years, leaving in May 2016.[6][11]

Kiesling's father is the former U.S. diplomat John Brady Kiesling.[10]


  1. ^ Tang, Estelle (2018-09-11). "Here Are the 28 Best Books to Read This Fall". ELLE. Retrieved 2019-08-09.
  2. ^ "Publishers Weekly Has Purchased the Millions". Retrieved 2019-08-09.
  3. ^ Br, Gayle; August 24, eis; August 29, 2018 Updated; 2018; Am, 10:26. "'The Golden State,' by Lydia Kiesling". Datebook | San Francisco Arts & Entertainment Guide. Retrieved 2019-08-09.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Blackwood, Sarah (2018-09-03). "In "The Golden State," Lydia Kiesling Brings Motherhood to the Road Novel". ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2019-08-09.
  5. ^ Abel, Heather (2018-09-05). "Literature Ignores the Lives of New Mothers. The Golden State Changes That". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2019-08-09.
  6. ^ a b September 7, Jessica Zack; September 10, 2018 Updated; 2018; Pm, 9:02. "Where are the novels that address motherhood? Look no further: Lydia Kiesling has written one". Datebook | San Francisco Arts & Entertainment Guide. Retrieved 2019-08-09.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Dumond, Susie (2018-09-24). "Meet the National Book Foundation's 2018 5 Under 35 Honorees". BOOK RIOT. Retrieved 2019-08-09.
  8. ^ "National Book Foundation unveils this year's '5 Under 35' picks". Los Angeles Times. 2018-09-24. Retrieved 2019-08-09.
  9. ^ "Lydia Kiesling's debut novel 'Golden State' a mother-daughter road adventure". The Mercury News. 2018-09-04. Retrieved 2019-08-09.
  10. ^ a b "Events | USC Center on Public Diplomacy". Retrieved 2019-08-09.
  11. ^ a b Affairs, Public; September 2, UC Berkeley|; 2015September 2; 2015 (2015-09-02). "A staffer's paean to Uzbek". Berkeley News. Retrieved 2019-08-09.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)