The Autobiography of a Mary Sue

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Closed Access

Degree Name

MFA in Writing

First Advisor

Maria Headley


“The Autobiography of a Mary Sue” is an intersection of young adult literature that combines the traditional venues of publication with the growing world of online publishing. It’s rétrospective autofiction, the coming of age story of a young fanfiction author as she struggles to come to terms with the death of her father, learning about her Korean heritage, discovering her own sexuality, making and breaking friendships, and honing her creative voice through the outlets of fanfiction and fandom critique essays.

Narrated by the older and wiser Mary Soo Lee, we will recount her high school exploits, her budding writing career, and her experiences in fandoms such as Star Wars, where being a Mary Sue is the greatest crime a person can commit.

Being a story about fandom, it references many of the largest fandoms and their great influence on today’s culture, mainly focusing on Star Wars, but also Harry Potter, Marvel, YA literature, and teen comedies. This story was also influenced by similar works about living in these online worlds and technological social spheres of influence, like Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and Patricia Lockwood’s No One Is Talking About This.

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