There is an astounding array of authors consistently floating in and out of the public eye - countless books marvelled at and then seemingly discarded; tucked away in the bookshelf of authorial fame. How has author R.F Kuang managed to capture and keep this attention, and what makes her writing so intensely magnetic? 


Boston writer Rebecca F. Kuang has produced hit after hit. From her violently successful historical fantasy ‘Babel’, to her recent satirical lit-fic ‘Yellowface’ Kuang has proved herself attuned to writing at its very core, oscillating between genres with unimaginable ease. To understand Kuang's rise to fame, we must look at her prodigal debut - ‘The Poppy War’ 


Dramatically launching both Kuang's career and a trilogy, ‘The Poppy War’ made a splash on ‘BookTok’ - an online society of book lovers, residing on TikTok and loving Kuang's novel. Although seemingly trivial, social media support has become intrinsically important when publishing a book. It’s easy to be influenced by those behind a screen, especially when they’re telling you all about the latest military fantasy. Kuang shortly garnered the favour of millions throughout the publishing of the two other books in her trilogy ‘The Dragon Republic’ and ‘The Burning God’, establishing a loyal fan base hungry for her prose (not to mention the 2019 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel) 


But Kuang's captivating words didn’t appear from nowhere, having a more than impressive academic background. Studying at Cambridge and achieving a Master of Philosophy in Chinese studies, to an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies at Oxford, Kuang channels her research into her writing, tackling complex issues such as 20th-century Chinese history. Kuang rises above the expectations of an ingenue, a multi-faceted and truly talented writer and scholar. Not to mention, she is currently working on her PhD at Yale.


R.F Kuang states in her recent article about the pressure she faced to remain ‘good for her age.’ That ‘[I’ve] tasted the highs of success much earlier than I thought I deserved’. Yet, Kuang's success has an inevitability to it that can only be ascribed to literary genius - a jack of all trades, and master of all too! So, if you find yourself looking for some classically brilliant prose or can’t-put-down novels, R.F. Kuang will never disappoint.