Lisa Ko

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NYC
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March 2016


I'm the author of THE LEAVERS, a novel that won the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award in Fiction. Set in New York and China, THE LEAVERS follows one young man's search for his mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant who disappears when he's 11 years old, after which he is adopted by a white family. It's the story of one mother and her son: what brings them together and takes them apart.

I'm a believer in the long game: I started writing stories when I was 5 years old and published my first book at 41.

Find me on Twitter, learn more about my journey to publication on my website, and check out my PEN Ten interview.
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Lisa Ko Hi Haleh! I was inspired to write the book based on real-life stories about families who'd been separated due to US immigration policies. I have heard…moreHi Haleh! I was inspired to write the book based on real-life stories about families who'd been separated due to US immigration policies. I have heard from readers who've had similar experiences--it's incredible to hear from anyone who feels the novel resonates with them in some way. (less)
Lisa Ko Hi Debra-- Wow, I'd be thrilled if I won one of the Goodreads Choice awards! I would be so grateful to my readers -- and I'd celebrate, for sure.
Average rating: 3.87 · 31,971 ratings · 3,658 reviews · 1 distinct workSimilar authors
The Leavers

3.87 avg rating — 31,970 ratings — published 2017 — 19 editions
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The Leavers Mixtape

While I was working on The Leavers, I made a mixtape that I’d listen to on my headphones while I wrote. Songs that my protagonists, Polly and Deming, might listen to. Songs that helped evoke certain scenes in the book.



Cat Power, “Manhattan”

He wandered out to the rooftop, the city spread wide like an offering, though he knew better than to admit he was impressed by the view. Upstate, snow was every

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Published on April 12, 2017 11:08

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In The Leavers a Chinese woman is deported, leaving her American-born son alone. The author talks about the ripped-from-the-headlines inspiration f...
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The Leavers by Lisa Ko
Lisa Ko voted for The Leavers as Best Debut Goodreads Author in the Semifinal Round of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards.
The Leavers by Lisa Ko
Lisa Ko answered Debra's question: Lisa Ko
Hi Debra-- Wow, I'd be thrilled if I won one of the Goodreads Choice awards! I would be so grateful to my readers -- and I'd celebrate, for sure.
Lisa Ko has read
Smuggled Chinese by Ko-Lin Chin
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Lisa Ko has read
Factory Girls by Leslie T. Chang
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Lisa Ko has read
Outsiders Within by Jane Jeong Trenka
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Lisa Ko wants to read
A Floating Chinaman by Hua Hsu
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Lisa Ko rated a book it was amazing
The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel
The Veins of the Ocean
by Patricia Engel (Goodreads Author)
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The Best American Short Stories 2016 by Junot Díaz
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Lisa Ko entered a giveaway
Deceit and Other Possibilities by Vanessa Hua
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More of Lisa's books…
“Everyone had stories they told themselves to get through the days.”
Lisa Ko, The Leavers

“It was that kind of mindfuck: to be too visible and invisible at the same time, in the ways it mattered the most.”
Lisa Ko, The Leavers

“It was a funny thing, forgiveness. You could spend years being angry with someone and then realize you no longer felt the same, that your usual mode of thinking had slipped away when you weren't noticing.”
Lisa Ko, The Leavers

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