The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency has declined to issue Yiyun Li a green card for permanent residency as an “artist of extraordinary ability.” The agency says it’s unpersuaded that Li has “risen to the very top of the field of endeavor,” although
She’s had stories published in prestige magazines such as the New Yorker and the Paris Review. She’s won the Pushcart Prize and the Plimpton Prize for New Writers. Random House has signed her to a $200,000, two-book contract, which Executive Editor Kate Medina calls — in what qualifies as a serious understatement — “most unusual” for a literary writer at this stage of her career. Her first book, a story collection called “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers,” was published this fall to wide praise.
The first immigration lawyer she consulted reportedly told her she’d have to be “the second coming of Ernest Hemingway” to win the petition. (Thanks to Leslie for the link.)