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Writer’s Digest Official Book Club Selection: Portrait of a Thief

The editors of Writer’s Digest are proud to bring you the first book club pick, Portrait of a Thief, to read along with us.

Our new podcast, Writer’s Digest Presents, brings you conversations on all aspects of the writings process. From beginnings to world-building, interviews with debut authors, poets, and more, Writer’s Digest Presents offers a little bit of something for every kind of writer.

Now we’re calling on the reader in you, too!

We’re so excited to bring you our first Writer’s Digest Presents Book Club Pick, Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li.

Writer’s Digest Official Book Club Selection: Portrait of a Thief

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Here's How It Works

Order your copy of Portrait of a Thief from any of the links above. We will be in conversation with author Grace D. Li in our June episode of Writer's Digest Presents, streaming Tuesday, June 21. We will be talking with Li about plot, setting, twists, and more, so be sure to finish the book before the interview, and subscribe to Writer's Digest Presents wherever you listen to podcasts!

Synopsis

History is told by the conquerors. Across the Western world, museums display the spoils of war, of conquest, of colonialism: priceless pieces of art looted from other countries, kept even now. Will Chen plans to steal them back.

A senior at Harvard, Will fits comfortably in his carefully curated roles: a perfect student, an art history major and sometimes artist, the eldest son who has always been his parents’ American Dream. But when a mysterious Chinese benefactor reaches out with an impossible—and illegal—job offer, Will finds himself something else as well: the leader of a heist to steal back five priceless Chinese sculptures, looted from Beijing centuries ago.

His crew is every heist archetype one can imag­ine—or at least, the closest he can get. A con artist: Irene Chen, a public policy major at Duke who can talk her way out of anything. A thief: Daniel Liang, a premed student with steady hands just as capable of lock picking as suturing. A getaway driver: Lily Wu, an engineering major who races cars in her free time. A hacker: Alex Huang, an MIT dropout turned Silicon Valley software engineer. Each member of his crew has their own complicated relationship with China and the identity they’ve cultivated as Chinese Americans, but when Will asks, none of them can turn him down.

Because if they succeed? They earn fifty million dollars—and a chance to make history. But if they fail, it will mean not just the loss of everything they’ve dreamed for themselves but yet another thwarted at­tempt to take back what colonialism has stolen. (Provided by Penguin Random House.)

Writer’s Digest Official Book Club Selection: Portrait of a Thief

Grace D. Li

About the Author

Grace D. Li grew up in Pearland, Texas, and is a graduate of Duke University, where she studied biology and creative writing. She currently attends Stanford University School of Medicine. Her debut novel, Portrait of a Thief, was an instant New York Times bestseller, #1 international bestseller, and is also in development at Netflix, with Grace serving as an executive producer for the series.

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