Lowry Pei

My father grew up in Soochow, China; my mother was a white woman from Columbus, Kansas. Improbable as it seems, even to me, they became my parents in Chicago in 1946. I grew up in St. Louis, and went to Harvard because my father, whose attitude toward education was as Chinese as it gets, wouldn’t hear of my applying anywhere else. I was a conscientious objector during Vietnam, worked in a lab putting tubes inside rats and bats, got a Ph.D. in English but instead of becoming an English prof I became a writing teacher and have been one ever since. I am now a Professor of English at Simmons College, in Boston. I’ve taught writing for over thirty years at all levels from first-year college to graduate students, meanwhile managing to write seven novels and publish one: Family Resemblances (Random House, 1986). I had a story in Best American Short Stories 1984, and one in The American Story: The Best of StoryQuarterly (1990). I have also published essays, literary criticism, and book reviews, but all of my publications put together would not equal the length of my collected commentaries on student papers.

My fiction, essays, and memoirs can be found on my website  http://www.lowrypei.com .

My most recent project was a non-fiction book that draws on science, philosophy, history and personal experience to examine where we stand in relation to nature, and how we might think differently about this relationship. This can be found here: Waterways

You can reach me at:

pei @ simmons dot edu

Lowry Pei, 20 Bellevue Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140




Family Resemblances (Random House, 1986)

published in England by Pan Books, 1987

Vintage Contemporary paperback, 1988


“Barranca, King of the Tree Streets,” Edges,ed. Ursula K. Le Guin and Virginia Kidd (Pocket Books, 1980).

“The Cold Room,” Stories #4, March-April 1983 (reprinted in The Best American Short Stories 1984, edited by John Updike with Shannon Ravenel).

“No Kick from Champagne,” The Ohio Review #32, 1984.

“Naked Women,” StoryQuarterly #20, 1985 (reprinted in The American Story: The Best of StoryQuarterly, Cane Hill Press, 1990).

“Vital Signs,” Writer’s Bar-B-Q, Autumn 1987.

“Meditation on Bangs,” Imagine Vol. II, No. 2, 1990.

Is This Love? (excerpt from a novel), in Above Ground:An Anthology of Living Fiction, ed. J.L. Morin (New York: Harvard Square Editions, 2009).

Essays and Memoirs:

“On Love and Space,” Missouri Review Vol. X, No. 2, April 1987.

“Country Places,” Southwest Review, Vol. 78, No. 3, summer 1993.

“Elusive Powers,” Many Mountains Moving, Winter 1996.

“Fox on the Shore,” Ecotone vol. 3, No. 1, fall 2007.

“Past, Present and Future on the Little River,” newsletter of Belmont Citizens Forum, summer 2008.

On Teaching Writing:

“Why Fiction, Why Criticize?” in How Writers Teach Writing, ed. Nancy Kline (Prentice-Hall, 1992).

“Essay and Story, Essay as Story,” in What Do I Know?:Reading, Writing and Teaching the Essay, ed. Janis Forman (Heinemann, 1996).

“Eleven Things You Could Start Doing Today for the Benefit of Your Students’ Writing.” co-author: Jane Kokernak. Tomorrow’s Professor message #824, Oct. 23, 2007. http://cgi.stanford.edu/~dept-ctl/tomprof/posting.php

“Eleven Ways to Teach Peer Writing and Response, in Any Course and Any Size Class.” co-author: Jane Kokernak. Tomorrow’s Professor message #940, April 21, 2009. http://cgi.stanford.edu/~dept-ctl/tomprof/posting.php

Literary Criticism:

The Duke’s Children: Reflection and Reconciliation,” Modern Language Quarterly, September 1978.

“Mirrors, the Dead Child, Snagsby’s Secret, and Esther,” English Language Notes, December 1978.

“‘Poor Singletons’: Definitions of Humanity in the Stories of James Tiptree, Jr.,” Science-Fiction Studies, November 1979.

“Dreaming the Other in The Golden Apples,” Modern Fiction Studies, Autumn 1982.

“Eudora Welty’s The Golden Apples,” Post Road no. 13, 2006.


The Novel-Machine: The Theory and Fiction of Anthony Trollope, by Walter M. Kendrick, reviewed in Modern Language Quarterly, September 1980.

Cold Spring Harbor, by Richard Yates, reviewed in New York Times Book Review, October 5, 1986.

Best American Short Stories 1986, ed. Raymond Carver with Shannon Ravenel, reviewed in Boston Review, December 1986.

Five Hundred Scorpions, by Shelby Hearon, reviewed in New York Times Book Review, May 10, 1987.

Continent, by Jim Crace, reviewed in Boston Review, August 1987.

The Gift of Stones, by Jim Crace, reviewed in Boston Review, August 1989.