Before coming to George School, Jiayi Luo ’20, could not write in English. “I wrote only in Chinese and only for my own pleasure: sci-fi, mystery, fan fiction, that sort of thing,” she said.
Now, Jiayi has written and published her first book, Flames in Amber: Cautionary Tales of Action and Inaction, entirely in English.
“I wrote most of the stories last summer before my senior year,” she said. “After coming to George School, I started to see both American and Chinese society from an outsider’s perspective and my purpose for writing changed. After reading various fiction in English class and for ARGO (George School’s literary magazine), I realized that while fiction often provides an escape from reality, it also confronts reality in a deliberate, aesthetic manner. I wrote it to engage in a conversation about the unlimited ramifications of social injustice, to entertain readers, and to grow as a writer.”
The book is a collection of eight parallel short stories in which characters who face social injustice indulged in reckless action or are paralyzed through inaction, but face the unintended consequences either way. “It’s basically a collection of ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situations,” she said.
Jiayi grew up in Hangzhou, China and credits former George School faculty Terry Culleton and Ralph Lelii for helping her pursue her passion of poetry and fiction writing in English. “I have definitely been inspired by my experience at GS,” Jiayi said.
Flames in Amber: Cautionary Tales of Action and Inaction is available in the Mollie Dodd Anderson Library and for purchase on Amazon.