Born in 1976 in Ruichang, in the province of Jiangxi, A Yi worked as a policeman, sports journalist and editor before deciding to dedicate himself to writing at the age of thirty-two. After a brief period on the editorial board of Chinese literary magazine Chutzpah/Tian Nan, he began working in a publishing house. His first work, a collection of short stories, was released in 2008. In 2010 he published his second story collection, The Bird Saw Me, to popular and critical acclaim. In 2012, his novel A Perfect Crime was published in China (English edition Oneworld, 2015). A collection of his short stories, Two Lives, was published in English by Flame Tree Press in 2020. Wake Me Up at Nine in the Morning was first published in China in 2017.