Allison was born and raised in Taiwan and arrived in the U.S. at twenty-two as a university student. That’s when she realized her school English wasn’t much help when asking for directions on the street or opening a bank account. By recording each of the classes she took––including physical education––and reviewing the tape every night for a year, she eventually learned English well enough to earn an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. But please excuse her if she misuses the verb tenses or mixes up the genders in third-person pronouns when she speaks. It’s no secret––English is a hard language to learn.
Allison is an editor at Dialogue Journal. She writes in both Chinese and English, both fiction and creative nonfiction, which means she spends a lot of time looking up words on Dictionary.com. She’s a Pushcart Prize nominee and her work has won both national and international awards, including National Championship in the 2010 Life Story Writing Competition in Taipei, Taiwan and the Grand Prize in the 2019 MAST People of Earth writing contest. She’s the inaugural winner of Sandra Carpenter Prize for Creative Nonfiction, first-place winner of the 2019 Segullah Journal writing contest, and first-place winner of 2020 Opossum flash contest, and many more. Visit her at allisonhongmerrill.com, where you can sign up for her extremely short monthly email.