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Heidi Liu ’13, Author or ‘Number 24’

If you attended the Emory Dance Company concert, then you witnessed the work of Heidi Liu ’13. However, outside of the dance world, Heidi is a published author, whose book Number 24 is now being sold at Barnes and Noble as well as on NOOK. Read up on this college senior and get the scoop on her new book!

Her Campus Emory (HCE): What inspired you to write this book?

Heidi Liu (HL): I had written most of the pieces that would later join to become this book without ever intending for them to come together as a single entity. My editor at Thought Catalog, an online publication that I write for, suggested the idea and I found that bridging the gap between the articles was pretty much second nature, as the book ended up being an autobiography of some sort. I just have collected so many stories that it felt like they needed to be told.

HCE: What is the meaning of the title?

HL: Number 24 was the number assigned to me in grade school when we had to line up in “number order” after recess.  It would later become significant in other ways, as I further discuss in the book.  The book finishes at the twenty-fourth chapter of my life, implying an appropriate “to-be-continued.”

HCE: I know you’re a dancer, is there any dance in the book?

HL: There is actually no dance in the book.  Dance is probably the most intimately important thing in my life and, because of that, I find it incredibly hard to write about it because I don’t know if I can do it justice.  It’s as if it is “too important to write about.”  Someday I hope to be able to articulate how I feel about dance.  The only author I’ve read who has done it justice is Lorrie Moore, in her collection of short stories Birds of America, in which she says:

“I tell them dance begins when a moment of hurt combines with a moment of boredom. I tell them it’s the body’s reaching, bringing air to itself. I tell them it’s the heart’s triumph, the victory speech of the feet, the refinement of animal lunge and flight, the purest metaphor of tribe and self. It’s life flipping death the bird.”

HCE: Has Emory heard about your book?

HL: Emory has not recognized my book in any way but my personal community has been overwhelmingly supportive throughout the process.  I’m not keen on any official university recognition, nor do I feel there is any opportunity for me to receive it.

HCE: What are your plans after graduation?

HL: After graduation I am planning on traveling through Europe and dancing with Staibdance’s summer intensive in Italy.  Then, I will return to Los Angeles and work as an assistant to a literary agent in Beverly Hills for a year before I either pursue an MFA in Dance or some other graduate degree.  Regardless of what my future plans hold, I have every intention of continuing to write about my experiences.

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