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The Collected Schizophrenias

Esmé Weijun Wang
An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the “collected schizophrenias” but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang’s analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative. An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.

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Powerful, affecting essays on mental illness, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and a Whiting Award

About the Author

Esmé Weijun Wang
Credit: Jacquelyn Tierney
Esmé Weijun Wang is the author of The Collected Schizophrenias and The Border of Paradise. She received the Whiting Award in 2018 and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists of 2017. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and lives in San Francisco.
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Upcoming Events

Carmen Maria Machado and Esmé Weijun Wang reading at Penn Book Center

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Esmé Weijun Wang reading at The Wing Georgetown

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In conversation with Tayla Burney. This event is for members of The Wing.

Esmé Weijun Wang reading at Politics & Prose

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In conversation with Kat Chow. 

Esmé Weijun Wang and Eula Biss reading at Women and Children First

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  • The Collected Schizophrenias is riveting, honest, and courageously allows for complexities in the reality of what living with illness is like—and we are lucky to have it in the world.”—
  • “[The Collected Schizophrenias is] resoundingly intelligent, often unexpectedly funny, questioning, fearless and peerless, as Wang makes for brilliant company on 13 difficult walks through largely uncharted territory.”Los Angeles Times
  • “[An] utterly unique book of essays: a deep, illuminating, and explosively written dive into a life of living with mental illness.”Entertainment Weekly
  • “Wang’s clear-eyed look into a complicated reality makes this is an essential read for anyone who better wants to understand why we treat each other—and ourselves—so harshly at any display of weakness; it’s a book of compassion and brilliance, an unflinching look at a topic that has long repelled too many of us.”NYLON
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