Allison's Bio

Obsessed with love and kindness, Allison is a loveaholic.

In fact, she’s the original creator who coins the word “loveaholic.”

Allison was born and raised in Taiwan and arrived in the U.S. at twenty-two as a university student. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and writes in both Chinese and English, both fiction and nonfiction. Her work appears in the New York Times and HuffPost and has won both national and international literary prizes. Her debut memoir, Ninety-Nine Fire Hoops, launched in September 2021 and continues to win book awards.

Allison is a keynote speaker, an instructor, and a panelist at various writer’s conferences both in the U.S. and in Asia. She also appears on TV, radio, and podcasts; in magazines, newspapers, and journals. She is available nationwide, by arrangement, for interviews, teaching, and speaking engagements. Sign up for her short monthly email for book news, event updates, and discounts. 

As Seen On:

Allison's Work

  • Third Place Winner in the 2015 Storymakers Conference First Chapter Contest.

  • Honorable Mention in the 79th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Contest.

  • Honorable Mention in the 89th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Contest.

  • Honorable Mention in the 2020 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest.

  • Finalist in the 2021 Pinch Page Prize.

  • Finalist in the 2020 Midway Journal Flash Prose and Poetry Contest.

  • Finalist in the 2020 Q3 Women On Writing Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest.

  • Finalist in the Tulip Tree Publishing Stories that Need to be Told Writing Contest.

  • Finalist in the inaugural CRAFT Literary Journal Nonfiction Contest.

  • Shortlisted finalist in the 2020 DL Jordan Prize for Literary Excellence.

  • Shortlisted finalist in the 2020 Fish Publishing Memoir Award.

  • Shortlisted finalist in the 2019 Eyelands Book Awards (Athens, Greece).

  • Shortlisted finalist in the 2019 New Millennium Writing Award XLVIII.

  • Shortlisted finalist in the 2014 Serendipity Memoir Discovery Contest.

  • Featured interviewee for KSL (TV Show) Mormon Times, March 4, 2011.

  • Featured interviewee for Roots Tech Conference 2015.

  • Featured interviewee for the Latter-Day Saints Channel, May 30, 2020.

  • Featured Author Interview in AWP Writer’s Chronicle, April 2022. 

  • Featured Interviewee for ABC4.com Good Things Utah, April 21, 2022.

  • Creative Nonfiction Editor at Dialogue Journal.

  • Committee member and Creative Nonfiction instructor at the Storymakers Writer’s Conference.

  • Executive team member of Calliope Writing Program.

  • Staff member of Writing Away Refuge Retreat.

  • Panelist at AWP Conference 2022, 2023.

  • Diverse Authors Panelist at Quills Writer’s Conference 2020.

  • BIPOC Panelist at Storymakers Writer’s Conference 2021.

  • Creative Nonfiction Panelist at Storymakers Conference 2022.

  • Multicultural Panelist at LDSPMA Conference 2023.
  • “Courage in History” Panelist at Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE Conference 2023.
  • Keynote Speaker at Exponent II Writer’s Retreat 2022.

  • Keynote Speaker at Writing Away Refuge Retreat, July 2023.
  • Social Media Manager for the 16th Annual Whitney Awards.
  • Allison’s work appears in the following publications:

      • The New York Times Modern Love projects Tiny Love Stories

      • HuffPost Personal
      • 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
        https://www.past-ten.com/single-post/AllisonHongMerrill

      • Cosmonauts Avenue
        https://cosmonautsavenue.com/allison-hong-merrill/

      • Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library exhibit
        https://pandemicstories.lib.byu.edu/authors/allison-hong-merrill/

      • The Allison Hong Merrill Exhibit
        https://www.letherspeakus.com/ourhistoryourvoices/allisonhongmerrill

      • Words of Wisdom 
        https://www.instagram.com/p/CSol4SHr0Xr/?utm_medium=copy_link

      • Utah @125 
        https://thrive125.utah.gov/merrill/

        Professional Activities (Editing & teaching)

        ♦ DIALOGUE JOURNAL Personal Essay Editor, Author Interviewer

        ♦ WRITING AWAY REFUGE PITCH CONFERENCE Workshop Instructor

        ♦ STORYMAKERS WRITER’S CONFERENCE Memoir Instructor

        Publications

        BOOKS

        The Paper Daughters of Chinatown Young Reader’s Edition. Shadow Mountain Publishing. April 11, 2023. Fiction

        Ninety-Nine Fire Hoops. She Writes Press. September 21, 2021. Creative Nonfiction (Memoir)

        WORK-IN-PROGRESS BOOK-LENGTH MANUSCRIPTS

        Ninety-Nine Lost Fathers. Creative Nonfiction (Memoir)

        Six Sage Society. Upmarket Fiction

        Logan Long Yao 姚龍的奇幻歷程.  Middle Grade Fantasy

        ANTHOLOGIES

        ♦ “Get a Cookie.” Writer’s Success Secrets Anthology. Living Tree Publishing. December 2022  

        ♦ “Jiaqi.” LDS Beta Reader Mind Game Anthology. March 20, 2017

        ♦ “Blurry License Plate.” Life Story Anthology (Taipei, Taiwan). December 2009

        ARTICLES

        ♦ “A Message to My Younger Self.” Modern Love Column Tiny Love Stories. The New York Times. October 11, 2022

        ♦ “Two Pioneers Across Two Centuries.” Ensign Magazine. August 2010

        ♦ “The Legend of Conner Thredgold.” Liahona Magazine (Taipei, Taiwan). October 2014

        PERSONAL ESSAYS

        ♦ “Words of Wisdom.” Let Her Speak. August 16, 2021.

        ♦ “Feed Her Nolens Volens.” The Allison Hong Merrill Exhibit. March 10, 2021

        ♦ “Paradise is Other People.” Thrive 125, Celebrating Utah’s Statehood. January 4, 2021

        ♦ “Hope Youngblood’s New Best Friend.” Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library Exhibit. January 1, 2021

        ♦ “Starter Wife.” Cosmonauts Avenue Journal. July 2020

        ♦ “Where?” Women On Writing Quarter 2. 2020

        ♦ “January 15, 2010.” Past-Ten Journal. January 15, 2020

        ♦ “Kingdom of Shoes.” Opossum Journal. 2020 (First Place Prize Winner)

        ♦ “The Gift.” Winning Writers. 2020

        ♦ “Lightning Whisperer.” Flying South Literary Magazine. 2019 (Nominated for Pushcart Prize)

        ♦ “Yujie.” Motherscope Magazine. December 2019

        ♦ “Review of Crossing.” Dialogue Journal. Fall 2019

        ♦ “Goodbye, Baba.” Segullah Journal. January 2019

        ♦ “The Child’s Palace.” MAST People of Earth Writing Contest. 2019

        Awards & Honors for My Personal Essays

        ♦ National Champion (GRAND PRIZE Winner) in the 2010 Life Story writing contest in Taipei, Taiwan.

        ♦ INAUGURAL Winner of the 2020 Sandra Carpenter Prize for Creative Nonfiction/First Pages Prize.

        https://www.scmemorialfund.com/creative-nonfiction-prize

        https://www.firstpagesprize.com/

        https://www.firstpagesprize.com/inspiration/allison-hong-merrills-first-pages-tipsfbclid=IwAR2Qgt5TbRaXH38FtoVcia60tMvcfC3IptYF80_oGYC7cKI0au0Gps70OI

        ♦ GRAND PRIZE Winner of the 2019 MAST People of Earth writing contest

        https://maststudio.org/screening/the-child-s-palace

        ♦ FIRST PLACE Winner of the 2019 Segullah Journal writing contest

        ♦ FIRST PLACE Winner of the 2020 Opossum Prize Flash Prose Contest

        ♦ FIRST PLACE Winner of the 2023 AWP Kurt Brown WC&C Scholarships for Creative Nonfiction

        ♦ 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee

        ♦ Runner-up Winner in the 2020 Quarter 2 Women On Writing Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest

        ♦ Third Place Winner in the 2015 Storymakers Conference First Chapter Contest

        ♦ Honorable Mention in the 79th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Contest

        ♦ Honorable Mention in the 89th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Contest

        ♦ Honorable Mention in the 2020 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

        ♦ Shortlisted finalist in the 2020 DL Jordan Prize for Literary Excellence

        ♦ Shortlisted finalist in the 2020 Fish Publishing Memoir Award

        ♦ Shortlisted finalist in the 2019 Eyelands Book Awards (Athens, Greece)

        ♦ Shortlisted finalist in the 2019 New Millennium Writing Award XLVIII

        ♦ Shortlisted finalist in the 2014 Serendipity Memoir Discovery Contest

        ♦ Finalist in the 2021 Pinch First Page Prize

        ♦ Finalist in the 2020 Midway Journal Flash Prose and Poetry Contest

        ♦ Finalist in the 2020 Q3 Women On Writing Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest

        ♦ Finalist in the Tulip Tree Publishing Stories that Need to be Told Writing Contest

        ♦ Finalist in the inaugural CRAFT Literary Journal Nonfiction Contest

        Media Appearances

        NEWSPAPER

        ♦ “Taiwanese-American Author on the Emotions of Writing Young Readers Edition for The Paper Daughters of Chinatown.” South China Morning Post 香港南華早報. June 11, 2023

        ♦ “Merrill and Moore’s ‘Paper Daughters’ Tells True Story of Tien Fu Wu and Dolly Cameron.” Northwest Asian Weekly. April 24, 2023

        ♦ “The Season.” Center for Latter-day Saint Arts. April 11, 2023

        TELEVISION

        ♦ Special Guest on “Come Follow Up.” BYUTV. May 17, 2023

        ♦ Featured interviewee on “Empower Hour/Come Back Stronger.” Fasig Brooks Law Office. August 23, 2022

        ♦ Featured interviewee on “Good Things Utah.” ABC4. April 21, 2022

        ♦ Featured interviewee on “VIA Times News Magazine.” CPRTV. October 9, 2021

        ♦ Featured interviewee on “His Grace.” Latter-day Saints Channel. 2019

        ♦ Featured interviewee on “Mormon Channel.” KSL5. 2011

        PODCAST

        ♦ Special Guest on Freelance Writing Direct Podcast. Erasmus, Estelle, hostess. April 27, 2023

        ♦ Special Guest on Every Soul Has a Story Podcast. Levan, Dara, hostess. March 23, 2023

        ♦ Special Guest on I Don’t Know How You Do It Podcast. Fein, Jessica, hostess. February 19, 2023

        ♦ Special Guest on Fire Breathing Rob Podcast. Fire Breathing, Robert, host. July 28, 2023

        ♦ Special Guest on Dialogue Journal Book Club Podcast. Dr. Hall, Andrew, host. December 19, 2022

        ♦ Special Guest on You, Inspired Podcast. Sims, Charissa, hostess. September 26, 2022

        ♦ Special Guest on Bright Side Podcast. Dr. Fuchs, Benjamin. September 3, 2022

        ♦ Special Guest on How to Live A Fantastic Life Podcast. Dr. Lycka, Allen, host. August 9, 2022

        ♦ Special Guest on Just Dumb Enough Podcast. Petry, Colton, host. August 1, 2022

        ♦ Special Guest on 3-21 No Kiddin Podcast. Malatesta, Bobbie, hostess. July 15, 2022

        ♦ Special Guest on No Sitting on the Sideline Podcast. Foley, Joe, host. July 11, 2022

        ♦ Special Guest on The Nature of Authors Podcast. Holm, Chrissy, hostess. July 1, 2022

        ♦ Special Guest on Greek University Fraternity Foodie Podcast. Dr. Ayalon, Michael, host. June 24, 2022

        ♦ Special Guest on Called to Create: LDSPMA Podcast. Sokol, Connie, hostess. March 17, 2022

        ♦ Special Guest on And Then Everything Changed Podcast. Plank, Ronit, hostess. August 20, 2021

        ♦ Special Guest on The Only One in the Room Podcast. Cathcart Robbins, Laura, hostess. June 2021

        ♦ Special Guest on Dialogue Journal Podcast. Dr. Petry, Taylor, host. January 10, 2020

        RADIO

        ♦ Special Guest on Bright Side Radio. September 3, 2022

        ♦ Special Guest on 91.9 FM WBNJ Preferred Radio. August 30, 2022

        ♦ Special Guest on Read My Lips Radio. July 18, 2022

        CONFERENCES

        Writing Away Refuge Retreat. Keynote speaker. July 2023

        Exponent II Writer’s Retreat. Keynote speaker. September 2022

        RootsTech Conference. Featured interviewee. 2015

        PANELS

        Assembly on Literature for Adolescents-YA. November 21-22, 2023

        LDSPMA Conference. “Spanning the Globe. Building Stories that Unite Our World.” October 2023

        AWP Conference & Bookfair. “Writing with an Accent: Immigrant Women’s Voices in the U.S.” March 2023

        AWP Conference & Bookfair. “Writing about Kith & Kin.” March 2023

        Shadow Mountain Publishing Author Panel. March 30, 2023

        School Library Journal Conference. “Middle Grade Magic.” March 9, 2023

        Calliope Writing Coach Program Agent Pitch Conference. Author Spotlight. January 2023.

        Storymakers Writer’s Conference. “Nonfiction Authors.”. May 2022

        AWP Conference & Bookfair. “More Interesting than Monsters: Resisting the Urge to Villianize in Memoir.” March 2022

        Storymakers Writer’s Conference. BIPOC Author Panel. May 2021

        Quills Writer’s Conference. BIPOC/Diverse Authors Panel. April 2020

        Other professional experiences

        ♦ January 2023-present: Calliope Writing Coach Program, Thorne Bay, AK –– Executive member. Master class instructor

        ♦ March-April 2023: Utah County, UT –– School visits and signing events in high schools

        ♦ April 2023: Eagle Mountain, UT –– Workshop instructor at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (WIFYR) Conference

        ♦ November 2, 2022: Elk Grove, CA –– Workshop instructor at Elk Grove Writers & Artists

        ♦ October 26, 2022: Awarded Artist Career Advancement scholarship from the Utah Division of Arts & Museums

        ♦ October 2022: Fu-Ren Catholic University, Taipei, Taiwan –– Motivational speaker as a distinguished alumna

        ♦ September 2022: Davis County, UT –– Two weeks of school visits, stage performances, and signing events in multiple high schools

        ♦ April 2022: Brigham Young University, Provo, UT –– My award-winning essay is used as reading material in a creative writing class

        ♦ January-May 2022: Association for Mormon Letters –– Book award judge

        ♦ October 2021: Vermont College of Fine Arts –– Reading excerpt of Ninety-Nine Fire Hoops

        ♦ 2017-2022: Storymakers Writer’s Conference, Provo, Utah –– Committee member. Social media manager. First chapter contest judge

        ♦ 2013-present: Utah County, UT. Motivational speaker to adults and youth

Author One Sheet