Motivational Quotes from Celeste Ng

If you see harassment happening, speak up. Being harassed is terrible; having bystanders pretend they don’t notice is infinitely worse.

Celeste Ng

It’s easy to feel helpless – like you can’t fight the tide. But remember: small actions can have a huge impact, and one person like you can inspire others to action.

Celeste Ng

A love of reading shows empathy, the desire to understand how others live or act or might act – and why.

Celeste Ng

Narratively speaking, innocent misunderstandings are disappointing. Arbitrary events are also disappointing. The stories that really grab our attention involve not accidents but people doing things on purpose – to get things they desperately want.

Celeste Ng

Gore isn’t required for a good story, but adversity is.

Celeste Ng

In fiction you’re not often writing about the typical; you are interested in outliers, the points of interest. Part of it comes from feeling I was the only Asian or person of colour… another part comes from my personality: I’m an introvert, and my usual survival mode in a large group is to stand by a wall and watch everybody.

Celeste Ng

For me, any story I tackle begins with the human relationships and not the plot.

Celeste Ng

I think, in the United States, we talk about race as a black and white issue… We’re generally talking about it as if it’s a binary equation whereas, in fact, there’s more than two races and, in fact, those races blend together. There are a lot of different ways that people identify.

Celeste Ng

One of the most fun things for me, as a writer, is when readers ask questions like, ‘Oh, I noticed that you have a lot of water and baptism imagery in your book. Did you do that on purpose?’

Celeste Ng

I wanted to write a book about people who have the best intentions and think – really, truly think – that they’re doing the right thing. And then they realize that when those ideals come knocking at their windowsill, a lot of times they will suddenly disavow those ideals.

Celeste Ng

In the case of ‘Everything I Never Told You,’ my goal was to make the experiences of a family that had always felt marginalised feel accessible and understandable even to people who’d never been in that situation.

Celeste Ng

The competitions between fiction and nonfiction, short and long, electronic and paper, are not battles in which there can be only one victor. After all, we exist in a world where more kinds of writing than ever are greeted with interest and enthusiasm.

Celeste Ng

Every writer needs new material now and then, whether it’s traveling to Japan, volunteering at a food bank, learning a new language, or trying a new food.

Celeste Ng

One of the things I like so much about ‘Goodnight Moon’ is the way it leaves room for ambiguity.

Celeste Ng

I play music on my phone to fall asleep when I’m on the road and as an alarm clock to wake me up, so I need it nearby – but there are never outlets by the bed in hotels!

Celeste Ng

A good poem is an amazing thing: a perfectly distilled, articulate moment. It opens you up – sometimes slowly, like the blooming of a flower, and sometimes with a quick knife-slice.

Celeste Ng

It’s incredibly rewarding to have people come up to me at readings and say, ‘I’m not Chinese, but this is the relationship I have with my mother.’ Or say, ‘Your book made me think a lot about my parents, and I’ve decided to sign up for counseling.’ That is mind-boggling.

Celeste Ng

As the Trump administration takes office – and we see acts of racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination around the country – ask yourself, ‘What’s important to me? What do I care about? What have I benefitted from that I want to pay forward?’ Then look for ways to spread help and hope.

Celeste Ng

Words are an imperfect medium for explaining.

Celeste Ng

I moved to Shaker Heights from Pittsburgh, PA, just before I turned 10.

Celeste Ng

I was fortunate to have many teachers who encouraged me – one of the first was Dianne Derrick, my 5th grade teacher at Woodbury Elementary. She challenged us to write creatively and praised my work, but most importantly, she treated writing like it was important.

Celeste Ng

I don’t think I know a single person who’s a minority who hasn’t experienced some form of discrimination at one time or another.

Celeste Ng

Of course, as a kid, I had no idea what was practical: I wanted to be a paleontologist, then an astronaut.

Celeste Ng

I began using the #smallacts hashtag on Twitter shortly after the 2016 election as a way to resist. To resist the intolerance growing in our nation, to resist an upcoming administration that I believe threatens to pull us backward and strip rights from those already marginalized.

Celeste Ng

Books by women, people of color, LGBTQ authors, differently abled people, and non-Americans are a great way of broadening horizons and building empathy.

Celeste Ng

Local politics is just as important as national – and often easier to influence.

Celeste Ng

There’s a great joy in writing about a place you know very well, but there’s also a lot of responsibility in trying to be accurate. It’s a lot like writing about a relative: you can see both their strengths and their shortcomings, and even as you want to be honest, you want people to see the good that’s there as well.

Celeste Ng

I don’t think of myself as a mystery or thriller writer, honestly. I am in awe of mystery writers and don’t think I have what it takes to write such a book.

Celeste Ng

I am a first-generation Chinese-American; my husband is white. We have a little boy, so I think a lot about what it’s like when people from different cultures and backgrounds start families, and how the world sees them. Most of my friends are in interracial relationships, and I just wonder what the world is going to look like for their children.

Celeste Ng

My mother wrote a teen column for the South China Morning Post in the 1950s when she was growing up in Hong Kong. Her name was Lily Mark, but she sometimes wrote under her confirmation name, Margaret Mark. That was how she met my father.

Celeste Ng

My parents came to America in the late 1960s because my father studied for a Ph.D. in Indiana. My mother joined him later. We had ancestors who came over at the turn of the century. One worked in a laundry, as is typical of Chinese-American immigrants.

Celeste Ng

My parents did give me a lot of books – biographies of Marie Curie – and I did read them, because I was interested.

Celeste Ng

Reading feeds writing: it presents you with new ideas to engage with.

Celeste Ng

I am not a contest-enterer by nature. But contests – and their entry fees – are often the main way literary journals raise money to, you know, publish their issues. So entering contests helps support the journal, which also helps support the writers they publish.

Celeste Ng

Buying new books supports the writer by providing both a royalty and an audience; a writer whose book sells well has a better chance of selling another.

Celeste Ng

Every single day, authors read at bookstores and libraries – and coffeeshops and bars – all over the country. And these readings are amazing: you get to hear the book in the author’s own voice, ask questions, and meet the writer. For free.

Celeste Ng

What’s the best way to ensure a supply of good books in the future? Support up-and-coming writers now.

Celeste Ng

I’m ashamed to admit that I very seldom read poetry, even though many of my friends are poets.

Celeste Ng

Somewhere in the Commandments of Reviewing must be written, ‘Thou shalt not compare Asians to non-Asians.’

Celeste Ng

If someone were to call me ‘the next Amy Tan,’ it would not be because – or not primarily because – we have similar themes or subjects or styles. Let’s be honest: it would be because we are both Chinese American.

Celeste Ng

Comparing Asian writers mainly to other Asian writers implies that we’re all telling the same story – a disappointingly reductive view.

Celeste Ng

Let’s stop reflexively comparing Chinese writers to Chinese writers, Indian writers to Indian writers, black writers to black writers. Let’s focus on the writing itself: the characters, the language, the narrative style.

Celeste Ng

Stories work better when not everyone gets what they want.

Celeste Ng

I keep a writer’s notebook and also put all my daily schedules and to-do lists in it.

Celeste Ng

I lose pens a lot, so I don’t use fancy ones.

Celeste Ng

Whenever I travel, I seem to get sick – it’s probably inevitable when you’re on a plane every single day.

Celeste Ng

The first bookstore I loved wasn’t a little independent gem nestled in a neighborhood: it was a modest Waldenbooks in our local shopping mall.

Celeste Ng

My parents used books as bribes: if I got straight A’s on my report card, they would buy me one book. This was completely unnecessary, as I always got A’s, and they bought me books all the time anyway, and we all knew it.

Celeste Ng

Now that I have a child of my own, I’m in awe of – and deeply grateful for – the time my parents spent in taking me to bookstores.

Celeste Ng

I resisted Twitter for a long time. To me, it was synonymous with networking, which in my mind means unceasing self-promotion and superficial small-talk with strangers. A little like wading into a river with a raging current – and I’m a terrible swimmer.

Celeste Ng

It’s so easy, as a writer, to get stuck in your own head, to live in the little worlds you create. To forget that there are people out there reading your work, people who may be deeply affected by what you do, that you are writing not just for yourself, but for them.

Celeste Ng

In 2011, I didn’t read a single book.

Celeste Ng