Tianli holds a Master's in Writing with a concentration in Creative Nonfiction from Northern Michigan University where she served as a nonfiction editor for their literary journal Passages North. She received her Bachelor's in English from Allegheny College, with a minor in psychology. She is an Asian-American writer with a keen interest in trauma theory, jellyfish, and white space. She is a poetry editor for The Worcester Review.

When she's not writing, she's horseback riding or boxing.

She lives in Marlborough, Massachusetts.

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