Marcia H. HowardAuthor in Residence

2023 Author in Residence

SARAH SHUN-LIEN BYNUM is the author of two novels, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and Madeleine Is Sleeping, a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Tin House, the Best American Short Stories, and the O. Henry Prize Stories. Her most recent book, the story collection Likes, was a finalist for the Story Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

ABOUT Likes (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020)


In nine stories that range from the real to the unreal, strange to familiar, funny to frightening, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum reminds us why her wildly original debut, Madeleine Is Sleeping, and her masterful Ms. Hempel Chronicles have become contemporary classics–celebrated and beloved.

In a nimble dance of lightness and gravity, Likes explores the full range and contradictions of our contemporary moment. Through unexpected visitors, Waldorf school fairs, aging indie-film stars, the struggle to gain a foothold in the capitalist shell-game of work, the Instagram posts of a twelve-year-old—these stories of friendship and parenthood, celebrity and obsession, race and class and the passage of time, form an engrossing collection that is both otherworldly and suffused with the deceitful humdrum of everyday life.

For readers of Joy Williams, George Saunders, Lauren Groff, and Deborah Eisenberg, Likes helps us see into our unacknowledged desires and, in quick, artful, nearly invisible cuts, exposes the roots of our abiding terrors and delights.

“Finely attuned to both sensory and emotional detail . . . The adjectives that readers often attach to Bynum’s work—’enchanting,’ ‘charming,’ ‘precise’—are accurate, but . . . her skills and her sensibility are deeper and darker than that. The sentences are indeed meticulous, but never for their own sake; they bring to life characters who possess rich inner lives even when navigating moments that feel dreamily sinister or otherworldly . . . Bynum offers her reader inventively landscaped, beautifully manicured gardens teeming with rewardingly warty toads.” —Caitlin Horrocks, The New York Times Book Review

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Library Journal, Electric Literature, The New York Public Library, PopMatters
A Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Story Prize

National Book Award finalist Sarah Shun-lien Bynum’s highly anticipated return weaves together like and unlike, mythic and modern.



Creative Writing Party Featuring Author in Residence Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

When: Tuesday, June 6 at 4:00pm
Where: Grace M. Hunt Memorial English Reading Room, Kaplan Hall 235