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Biography

Xiran Jay Zhao is a Chinese-born Canadian author, internet personality, and cosplayer. Their debut novel, Iron Widow, became a No. 1 New York Times Best Seller.

Zhao immigrated to British Columbia from a small town in China in grade five. They are of Hui heritage on their father's side. They would imagine stories growing up, but did not put any on paper until they were encouraged to at an anime convention when they were 15. They majored in health sciences with a focus on biochemical disease research at Simon Fraser University, graduating in 2020. They worked at a co-op before deciding an office job was not for them.

In March 2020, Zhao signed a two-book deal with Penguin Teen Canada for a young adult (YA) mecha reimagining of the rise of the Chinese Empress Wu. Rock the Boat, the children's imprint of Oneworld Publications, acquired the UK rights in May 2021. Zhao described the series as a "monstrous amalgamation of my love for anime and my love for Chinese harem dramas". The first installment in the series, Iron Widow, was published in September 2021 and reached No. 1 in the Young Adult Hardcover category of the New York Times Best Seller list. The second installment in the series, Iron Widow 2: Heavenly Tyrant, will be published in spring 2023.

In September 2020, Zhao went viral, first on a Twitter thread followed by their first YouTube video, for their criticisms of Disney's live-action Mulan remake and its cultural inaccuracies. Zhao credits their presence on the Internet as a self-described "Chinese history memer" for the success of Iron Widow, which was initially expected to only appeal to a niche audience.

At the beginning of 2021, Zhao landed their second book deal for Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor, a middle grade contemporary fantasy with Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, after a bidding war. It is set for a May 2022 release. — from Wikipedia

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  • Last edited on 2022/04/26


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