Mimi Lok is the author of the story collection Last of Her Name, forthcoming from Kaya Press in October 2019. The title story was a finalist for the 2018 Katherine Anne Porter Fiction Prize. She is the recipient of a Smithsonian Ingenuity Award and an Ylvisaker Award for Fiction, and was a finalist for the Susan Atefat Arts and Letters Prize for nonfiction. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in McSweeney’s, Electric Literature, Nimrod, Lucky Peach, Hyphen, the South China Morning Post, and elsewhere. Mimi is also the executive director and editor of Voice of Witness, a human rights/oral history nonprofit she cofounded that amplifies marginalized voices through a book series and a national education program.
Watch an interview with Mimi Lok about Last of Her Name and the writing process:
Last of Her Name
Last of Her Name is an eye-opening story collection about the intimate, interconnected lives of diasporic women and the histories they are born into. Set in a wide range of time periods and locales, including 80s UK suburbia, WWII Hong Kong and urban California, Last of Her Name features an eclectic cast of outsiders: among them, an elderly housebreaker, wounded lovers, and kung-fu fighting teenage girls.
In the novella “The Woman In The Closet,” a homeless woman finds refuge in the unlikeliest of places, while in “I Have Never Put My Hope in Any Other But Thee,” a teenage girl navigates art and emotional allegiances with her ex-opera singer stepmother. In “The Wrong Dave,” a soon-to-be-married architect takes up a covert correspondence with a grief-stricken woman who may or may not be writing to the right person. “Wedding Night” centers on an unconventional romance threatened by societal mores. The title story follows the parallel, interweaving journeys of a mother and daughter as they grapple with their respective foes, taking us from the suburbs of England to a Chinese village on the eve of World War II, and exploring the hidden lives and secret histories within an immigrant family. Collectively, LAST OF HER NAME offers a unique exploration of love, longing, and endurance.
“Lok’s literary debut is among the strongest of the year. . . . Lok writes with the self-assuredness of a literary veteran and the insight of someone who’s spent a lifetime studying how humans interact. It’s a gorgeous collection that urges us to do our best to connect with one another.” —NPR
“Lok has written the kind of understated book you catch yourself thinking about weeks after you finish it. Absorbing and deeply human, these characters — who either live in China or are of the Chinese diaspora — feel more like people you might’ve known than like fictitious renderings of Lok’s imagination.” —NY Times Book Review
“Her stories are insightful, painfully honest and deeply unsettling — a dynamite combination in a new writer on the scene.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Through eight provocative stories, Lok’s sharp gaze transforms disconnection and longing with compelling results.” —Booklist
“Lok’s attention to detail and reflective connections make for an intimate and layered experience, for the characters and their readers.” —Ms. Magazine
“Last of Her Name is a mesmerizing and deeply felt debut that affirms all that is great about short fiction. ‘The Woman in the Closet’… has to be considered a new classic. Lok’s collection brings startling intimacy to her characters, all of them struggling with dislocation and belonging. I can’t think of a collection that better speaks to this moment of global movement and collective rupture from homes and history, and the struggle to find meaning despite it all.” —DAVE EGGERS, author of The Parade
“What a basket of jewels! Each of these stories is elegant, poignant and multi-faceted. A true pleasure.” —GISH JEN, author of The Girl at the Baggage Claim
“A truly beautiful and wide ranging collection. From the gut punch of the opening story to the wonderful novella that anchors the book, not a word is wasted. A book to stay up with, a book that will make you not want to sleep.” —PETER ORNER, author of Maggie Brown & Others
“A collection of assured and keenly observed stories about the devastations—large and small—that transpire between people. No-nonsense, darkly funny, and lovely all at once, it makes you wonder, as good books should, what on earth is going on in each of our brains.” —RACHEL KHONG, author of Goodbye, Vitamin
Mimi Lok news
Congrats to Mimi Lok, author of the story collection Last of Her Name, for winning the California Book Awards’s Silver Medal in Fiction from the Commonwealth Club of California. Last of Her Name continues to receive warm acclaim, as winner of the 2020 PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize for debut short story collection, and was also […]
Join us for a reading and conversation with four outstanding Chinese writers whose works upend the notion of a monolithic Chinese identity and uncover a much more complicated story about the diversity of Chinese diasporic experiences in America: 2017 National Book Award finalist Lisa Ko (The Leavers), crime-writer-turned-YA-author Ed Lin (David Tung Can’t Have a […]
2019 Asian American Literature Festival https://smithsonianapa.org/lit/lit2019/ August 2-4, 2019 at Eaton DC, Library of Congress, and Smithsonian Freer/Sackler Galleries free to the public Kaya Press will host 2 awesome panels: Kaya Healing Circle on Toxic Masculinity on Saturday, August 3, at 5:30 PM-6:30 PM Transnational Narratives, featuring Mimi Lok, Max Yeh + Alice Stephens, moderated […]