TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Marie Lu

Marie  Lu

Marie Lu was born in Beijing, China in 1984. Her given name is Xiwei. Although Lu moved the United States at age 5, her early life in China greatly influenced her work. Her mother lived through repression by the Chinese government during the Cultural Revolution. On a walk with her aunt, 5-year-old Lu witnessed tanks and soldiers preparing for what would become the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

In 1989, Lu and her family moved to the United States, settling in Texas. She went to college at the University of Southern California, where she studied political science. Lu originally considered becoming a lawyer, but she ended up taking a job as an art director for a video game company. She has said in interviews that certain elements of Legend, such as the Skiz fights, were inspired by her love of gaming.

Lu started writing as a young girl, and she wrote novels for 12 years before Legend, her first book accepted for publication, hit bookshelves in 2011. Legend attracted attention almost immediately - CBS Films bought the movie rights before it was even published. Since then, Legend and its two sequels Prodigy and Champion, have made Lu a household name among teenagers and adults.

Lu’s work stands out amongst a bevy of dystopian novels and series. An interesting coincidence is Lu's birth year being the same as the title of George Orwell’s seminal novel 1984. With 1984 being a foundational pillar of the dystopian genre, one might imagine Lu’s prowess for writing dystopian stories was ordained. The Young Elites, the first novel of Lu’s hotly anticipated second series, departs from Lu’s dystopian beginnings but promises to be as popular. Fox and Temple Hill Entertainment bought the movie rights shortly after the novel’s publication.