Greenhill Alumna Rebecca Kuang Featured on Time Magazine List


Photo by Kobi C. Felton

Greenhill Alumna Rebecca Kuang author of two books featured on Time Magazine.

Nate Rutledge

Greenhill alumna Rebecca Kuang ’13 has been honored by Time Magazine, which recently included two of her books on its list of “100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time.”

Singled out for acclaim were Kuang’s 2018 debut, “The Poppy War,” a mythical story set during the second Sino-Japanese War, and its sequel “The Dragon Republic,” set after the war.

Kuang’s third and final book in the Poppy War series, “The Burning God,” is set to be released by the Harper Voyager imprint this month.

The Evergreen profiled Kuang in February of 2019 about the release of “The Poppy War.”  At the time, she was studying at Cambridge University and described her journey as a writer.

“It wasn’t until I took a year gap and decided to try my hand at writing a full-fledged manuscript that I seriously [considered] having a career in it,” Kuang told The Evergreen.

Kuang is currently pursuing a doctorate in East Asian language at Yale. She holds an undergraduate degree from Georgetown, a master’s degree in philosophy from Cambridge and another master’s in contemporary Chinese studies from Oxford.

In honoring “The Poppy War,” Time editor Cate Matthews praised the book for its “powerful depictions of trauma and the horrors of war.”

In an interview with The Evergreen last year, Kuang said one of her favorite classes at Greenhill was Upper School history teacher Scott Cotton’s elective on the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States. For her final project in the class, Kuang wrote an Orwellian-like novella about the national security state after 9/11.

“That was the first time I really melded my academic interests in history with writing fiction,” Kuang said.

At the time, Kuang said she wasn’t sure if she was going to continue writing about China.

“Writers always end up writing about things they’re passionate about and things they spend a lot of time thinking about, so right now it’s China,” Kuang said.