Marjorie Liu

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Marjorie Liu in 2011

Marjorie M. Liu (born 1979) is an American best-selling author and comic book writer.


  • Books, words, were my most treasured escape. I lived inside stories, I breathed them. I felt like they made me more human, or a better human…
  • It was an interesting phenomenon, being of mixed race, especially in the eighties. And actually, things haven’t changed all that much, because people still don’t like to talk about race. The inhibition around discussing racism and what it means to be a person of color in this country is profound. Growing up, there was no space to talk about racism. If anyone brought that up at school, suddenly that person was a troublemaker. And as a mixed race kid who had a lot of mixed race friends, if anyone talked about racism we were held up like little trophies. Literally, people would point to us and ask, “How can there be racism? Look at all these biracial kids running around. How is there racism when we see a melting pot?” We were the biological representatives of a post-racial society, and that created an incredible silencing effect…
  • For the most part, romance novels are stories about women finding and taking up space for themselves. And not just taking up space, but daring to find happiness. And yes, romance novels are about the fantasy—the heterosexual fantasy—of having the perfect relationship with a man, but it’s also about women taking power over their sexuality, women taking control over their lives, women making themselves vulnerable to all the intimacies of love…
  • Monstress, however, was the product of many different ideas; my grandmother’s experience of the Japanese occupation of China, for example, my desire to explore what it is to be monstrous. But it also had to do with women—more precisely the representation of women.
  • I realized I was thinking about fiction two-dimensionally. When I’m writing comics, I’m also visualizing how the story will look on the page—not even always art-wise, but panel-wise, like how a moment will be enhanced dramatically by simply turning a page and getting a reveal. It requires thinking about story in a way I never had to consider when I was writing prose.
  • Female rage is not really permitted in real life. Angry women are called bitches, too emotional, hysterical, whereas male rage is often portrayed as heroic, righteous, intelligent. In Monstress, Arcanics wear collars around their necks to keep them from exercising their full selves. And I think one of the collars around the necks of women is society’s views about female rage. Which isn’t to say anger is necessarily a force for good. Rage can be energizing and sustaining, but it’s ultimately problematic if it doesn’t lead you to a deeper exploration of the source…

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