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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, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, and The Border of Paradise: A Novel. She received a 2018 Whiting Award and was named by Granta as one of the “Best of Young American Novelists” in 2017. Born in the Midwest to Taiwanese parents, she lives in San Francisco, and can be found at and on Twitter @esmewang.
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Upcoming Events

Esmé Weijun Wang reading at Kadist

Kadist in San Francisco, CAview map
In conversation with Corrine Fitzpatrick. Co-organized with Triple Canopy. Bar opens at 6:00 PM, program begins at 7:00 PM.

Esmé Weijun Wang reading at East Bay Booksellers

East Bay Booksellers in Oakland, CAview map
In conversation with Caille Millner.

Esmé Weijun Wang reading at McNally Jackson Books

McNally Jackson in New York, NYview map

Esmé Weijun Wang reading at Books Are Magic

Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, NYview map

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

Penn Book Center in Philadelphia, PAview map

Esmé Weijun Wang reading at Politics & Prose

Politics & Prose in Washington, DCview map

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

Women & Children First in Chicago, ILview map


  • “A brilliant guide to the complexities of thinking about illness, and mental illness in particular. It will bring hope to others searching to understand their own diagnoses.” —Meghan O’Rourke
  • “A masterful braiding of the achingly personal and the incisively researched. . . . This book is a vital, illuminating window onto the world we all already live in, but find all too easy to ignore.”—Alexandra Kleeman
  • “You won’t find any pity-baiting, sensationalism, or false positivity here; Wang is so candidly aware that I’d trust her over my own diary.”—Tony Tulathimutte
  • “Esmé Weijun Wang offers us an all-access pass to her beautiful, unquiet mind. . . . Rarely has a book about living with mental illness felt so immediate, raw, and powerful.”—Dani Shapiro
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