Yvonne Woon

Yvonne Woon

Photo by Chee Wai Woon


Yvonne Woon is from Worcester, Massachusetts, and holds an MFA in fiction from Columbia University. She is the author of four young adult novels: the Dead Beautiful series and If You, Then Me. Her short fiction has appeared in the Boston Review. She has worked as a nanny, a ghostwriter, a dog walker, a university writing instructor, a tutor, a seafood salesperson, and a grocery clerk. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with one husband, one toddler, one baby, and two cats. She’s working on her first novel for adults.

I’m stunned and overjoyed and so incredibly grateful to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. What a gift—of money, and through it, time, but also of confidence. I was considering abandoning the novel-in-progress that my submission came from when I received the news, and had been wondering if I was capable of saying what I wanted to say, or if it even needed to be said at all. This grant answered both questions with a resounding yes. It is impossible to overstate how life-changing it was to hear that NEA thought my work was important enough to merit funding from the federal government. It has empowered me to complete the novel and to allow myself to consider embarking on future writing projects that I may not have otherwise felt capable of tackling.

As a parent of young children, I have had to squeeze in writing during naps and after bedtime—the time always curtailed and threatened with the looming distraction of other, more immediately pressing tasks. Financially, this grant will allow me to pay for the childcare I need to think deeply and write in longer stretches of time. It will also alleviate some of the financial stress that goes hand-in-hand with the instability of trying to make a living off of writing. I feel so lucky to be in the company of the other fellows, both present and past, and am excited to share the work that I create during this fellowship.