Leslie Li's new book The Forest for the Trees is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press. Alternating between novel and screenplay formats, it is a dark comedy about a clash of cultures and generations, a biracial coming-of-age story, and a psychological thriller about inherited trauma. Set in 1959 suburban New York City, the book follows a Chinese businessman who loses his livelihood and is replaced by his Caucasian American wife as sole breadwinner, creating a cascade of domestic crises that mirrors the Cold War raging between the United States and communist China. Her first book Bittersweet (Tuttle Publishing), an historical novel, won praise from The New Yorker and The New York Times. Her culinary memoir, Daughter of Heaven (Arcade Publishing) received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. Just Us Girls (Four Seasons Press) is the official companion book to The Kim Loo Sisters—her feature-length documentary about the first Asian American act to star in Broadway musical revues—which was one of the five finalists in The Paley Center for Media DocPitch Competition. Her personal essays and feature articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Gourmet, Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Saveur, Modern Maturity, Garden Design, Dorothy Parker's Ashes, and elsewhere.
Li has taught fiction and memoir writing workshops at Skidmore College, Manhattanville College, SUNY Purchase, The New York Open Center, The Writer's Voice of the West Side YMCA, The Asian-American Writers' Workshop, and Paris Writing Workshops in Paris, France.
She has received grants from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, the Chinese Heritage Foundation, New York State Council for the Arts, and the Freeman Foundation. Her work has been supported by New York Foundation for the Arts and a Tennessee Williams Scholarship in Fiction, and by residencies at Fondation Ledig-Rowohlt in Lavigny, Switzerland, Ledig House, Millay Colony for the Arts, and The Cottages at Hedgebrook.