Jenny Zhang

Visiting Assistant Professor

Summer 2021

Jenny’s debut story collection, Sour Heart, conjures the experience of adolescence through the eyes of Chinese American girls growing up in New York City and is the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the PEN/Robert. W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, and was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. The New Yorker writes, “Jenny Zhang’s Sour Heart combines ingenious and tightly controlled technical artistry with an unfettered emotional directness that frequently moves, within single sentences, from overwhelming beauty to abject pain.” The collection has been optioned for film by A24, and Jenny is co-writing the adaptation alongside the director, Cathy Yan.

In 2012, she published a book of poetry titled, Dear Jenny, We Are All Find. Jenny’s second collection of poetry, My Baby First Birthday, was published in 2020 from Tin House Books. Of the collection, Dorothea Lasky writes, “Jenny Zhang will always be one of the most important poets writing today. She consistently and constantly stretches the lyric to its necessary and best intentions, telling it where it only may dream or dare to go.” In addition to her fiction and poetry, Zhang’s essays have been published by The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and Rookie. Her essay “How It Feels,” which is a meditation on depression, suicide, and excess, was published in Poetry Magazine and a finalist for a National Magazine Award.

Research areas
  • Fiction
Portrait of Jenny Zhang