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Sarah Shun-lien Bynum (born 1972) is a Chinese American writer. Her brother is musician Taylor Ho Bynum.[1]

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. She taught writing and literature in the Graduate MFA Writing program at Otis College of Art and Design until 2015[2]. Bynum is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Fairy tales are a common theme in many of her works. Bynum expressed her interest in fairy tales is because "they always walk that line between wonder and darkness," as well as the "disturbing energy" that they hold.[3] Madeleine is Sleeping was published by Harcourt in 2004, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her short stories, including excerpts from her new novel, have appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Triquarterly, The Georgia Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and in Best American Short Stories.[4] Her second novel, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, was published in September 2008 and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award in 2009.[5]

In a 2009 book review of Ms. Hempel Chronicles published in the Sunday book review of The New York Times, Josh Emmons notes Bynum's "prose remains nimble and entertaining, a model of quiet control well suited to its subject" and the "deftness with which [Ms. Hempel] observes and describes her world and its inhabitants is so engaging that for all its circumspection and regrettable lacunae, “Ms. Hempel Chronicles” works as an account of how nostalgia — both for what was and might have been — can generate a thousand mercies."[6]

In 2010, Bynum was named one of New Yorker magazine's top "20 Under 40" fiction writers in which the editors note her works "offer idiosyncratic, voice-driven narratives." [7]

In 2017, she was featured in an interview in The New Yorker magazine on surviving adolescence and social media.[8]





  • Madeleine is Sleeping. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2004. ISBN 978-0-15101-059-2.
  • Ms. Hempel Chronicles. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2008. ISBN 978-0-15101-496-5.


  • "Sandman". Do Me: Tales of Love and Sex from Tin house. Tin House Books. 2007. ISBN 978-0-97941-980-5.
  • "The Young Wife's Tale". Fantastic Women: 18 Tales of the Surreal and the Sublime from Tin House. Tin House Books. 2011. ISBN 978-1-93563-910-7.

Short storiesEdit

  • "Creep." TriQuarterly. Spring 2005.
  • "Yurt". The New Yorker. 21 July 2008.
  • "The Erlking". The New Yorker. 5 July 2010.
  • "These Are Mysteries." Gulf Coast. Winter/Spring 2011.
  • "Christmas, 1990." The Cincinnati Review. Winter 2011.
  • "Tell Me My Name". Ploughshares. Emerson College. 121. Fall 2013.
  • "The Burglar". The New Yorker. 11 April 2016.
  • "Likes". The New Yorker. 9 October 2017.


Book ReviewsEdit



  1. ^ Ng, Ivana (October 8, 2009) "Taylor Ho Bynum & Spidermonkey Strings: Madeleine Dreams". All About Jazz.
  2. ^ "Otis College of Art and Design".
  3. ^ "Wonder and Darkness: interview with writer Sarah Shun-lien Bynum". Asia Pacific Arts. 2 November 2011.
  4. ^ Bios of 2005 Whiting Writers' Award Recipients - Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 9-20-06
  5. ^ Contributor Bio, The New Yorker, July 21, 2008
  6. ^ Emmons, Josh (January 2009). "Chalk Dust Memories". The New Yorker.
  7. ^ The Editors (June 2010). "20 Under 40". The New Yorker.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Davidson, Willing (October 2017). "Sarah Shun-lien Bynum on Surviving Adolescence and Social Media". The New Yorker.
  9. ^ "Sarah Shun-lien Bynum Reads Yiyun Li". The New Yorker. December 2017.

External linksEdit