Allison Hong Merrill


Taiwanese Writer

Allison Hong Merrill in Taiwan.


Allison was born and raised in Taiwan and came to the U.S. at age 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, with an emphasis on Creative Nonfiction. 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’s Family at 鯉魚潭 (The Carp Lake), Hualien, Taiwan, circa 1977.
Allison’s Family celebrating Chinese New Year, 1980. Hualien, Taiwan.

Allison writes both fiction and creative nonfiction in both Chinese and English, which means she spends a lot of time looking up words on 

Specifically, she writes memoir, personal essay, and Young Adult fiction with cross over potential. She is currently drafting a New Adult #ownvoices #IRMC #POC novel, Six Sage Society, and plotting a coming-of-age #POC memoir, I’m Not My Father’s Lover. Her memoir, Ninety-Nine Fire Hoops, is forthcoming from She Writes Press (Fall, 2021).

Allison and Her Father. Hualien, Taiwan, circa 1977.

Allison believes that everyone is endowed with the power to choose for him/herself. She also believes that kindness is the answer to most of the challenges we face as a human race. Choose to be Kind is her motto.

One of Allison’s Kindness Projects–-Serving Sushi on the Street.

Allison is grateful to be able to live a creative life. It’s her dream come true. Aside from writing, she also models and acts for print and film. But her greatest joy is sharing her life with her husband and their three sons.

Allison in Taiwan.

Writing Credentials:

  • Inaugural winner of the 2020 Sandra Carpenter Prize for Creative Nonfiction/First Pages Prize:
  • Grand Prize winner of the 2019 MAST People of Earth writing contest:
  • First Place winner of the 2019 Segullah Journal writing contest.
  • National Champion (Grand Prize winner) in the Life Story writing contest (Taipei, Taiwan).
  • 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee for her essay, Lightning Whisperer 與閃電的對話.
  • Runner-up for the 2020 Q2 Women On Writing Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest.
  • Finalist for the 2020 Q3 Women On Writing Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest.
  • Third Place in the 2015 Storymakers Conference First Chapter Contest.
  • Shortlisted finalist for the 2020 DL Jordan Prize for Literary Excellence.
  • Shortlisted finalist for the 2020 Fish Publishing Memoir Award.
  • Shortlisted finalist for the 2019 Eyelands Book Awards (Athens, Greece).
  • Shortlisted finalist for the 2019 New Millennium Writing Award XLVIII.
  • Shortlisted finalist in the 2014 Serendipity Memoir Discovery Contest.
  • Honorable Mention in the 79th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Contest.
  • Featured interviewee in KSL (TV Show) Mormon Times.
  • Featured interviewee in Roots Tech Conference 2015.
  • Featured interviewee in the Dialogue Journal podcast.
  • Committee member of the Storymakers Writer’s Conference.
  • Allison’s work appears in the following publications:
    • Life Story Anthology (Taipei, Taiwan)
    • Liahona Magazine (Taipei, Taiwan)
    • LDS Beta Reader Mind Game Anthology
    • Ensign Magazine
    • Flying South Literary Magazine 
    • Dialogue Journal
    • Motherscope Magazine
    • Past-Ten Journal
    • Cosmonauts Avenue

“Choices can free people from difficult circumstances and empower us to create our own destiny.”

––Allison Hong Merrill