Doretta Lau started watching horror movies at age nine and sketch comedy at eleven, which was probably why she ended up completing an MFA in Writing at Columbia University.
She spent her days in New York working in children’s publishing and her nights watching musicians work out their inner demons at downtown venues and Brooklyn lofts. As a journalist in Hong Kong, she drank cheap wine at art openings, laughed her way through films of every genre–even ones not meant to be humorous–and discovered while on assignment in Guam that she’s afraid to shoot guns and fly planes. And, she’d do it all again just for the stories.
In her fiction, her characters receive text messages from their future selves, go on dates with ghosts, recover from childhood stardom, and yearn to be competitive eating superstars. The Atlantic named her short story collection, How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?, as a best book of 2014. The title story, about a group of kids determined to pull off a heist, was shortlisted for the 2013 Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize.
For the sake of the craft, she once lived in a haunted house for two months to write her novel We Are Underlings, about a dysfunctional workplace struggling to open a theme park that celebrates death. In that same vein, she is learning how to bake in order to achieve verisimilitude for her next book, a crime comedy set in the pandemic bubble of a reality baking show.
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