YellowBridge Chinese Language & Culture
Chinese Language Center

Famous Chinese Americans Literature and Drama

  Who What
Maxine Hong Kingston

b. 1940, Stockton, CA

Novelist and poet. She is best known for her first novel The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, a semi-autobiographical bestseller about a daughter of Chinese immigrants growing up in the 1950s.  Her second book, China Men, continued her examination of the Chinese American experience through the eyes of the men in her family.  Later works include Hawai'i One Summer, Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book, To Be the Poet, and The Fifth Book of Peace

Ching Yang Lee

b. 1917, Hunan

Novelist. His best known work is The Flower Drum Song, a 1957 bestseller that inspired the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical and film (starring Nancy Kwan) of the same name. The musical enjoyed a Broadway revival in 2002. He also wrote ten other novels, including: China Saga, Madame Goldenflower, and The Second Son of Heaven.

Gus Lee

b. 1946, San Francisco

Novelist. Lee trained and worked as a lawyer before writing his first novel, China Boy, a mostly autobiographical novel about a Chinese American boy growing up in a San Francisco slum. Later novels include Honor and Duty, Tiger's Tail, No Physical Evidence. His latest work is a family memoir called Chasing Hepburn: A Memoir of Shanghai, Hollywood, and a Chinese Family's Fight for Freedom.

Lin Yutang

b. 1895, Fukien
d. 1976
Novelist, essayist, philosopher, and linguist. Lin was a prolific writer in both Chinese and English. His first English work, My Country and My People, explained China to the West. The Importance of Living expounded his philosophy of life. He taught at several universities, wrote many novels and essays, translated classical Chinese works, and edited a Chinese-English dictionary.
Bette Bao Lord

b. 1938, Shanghai

Novelist and essayist. Her first book, Eighth Moon, chronicled the life of her sister, who had been left behind in China as an infant and not reunited with the family until 16 years later. She performed in modern dances for the next eight years before writing her first fictional novel, Spring Moon  and a children's book, In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson based on her memoirs. She lived in Beijing as wife of the American ambassador to China during the Deng Xiaoping era. Her conversations with residents resulted in her next book,Legacies: A Chinese Mosaic.