Although the name Yan Geling may mean very little to U.S.-based academics, Yan is often commended by scholars in mainland China and Taiwan as one of the most important Chinese-language authors in the United States. Before she came to the U.S. as a student in 1989, Yan had published three novels in mainland China, where she was born in the late 1950s. During and after her study at Columbia College in Chicago for an MFA in fiction writing, she continued to write in Chinese, publishing award-winning short stories, novellas, and novels in the U.S., Taiwan, and mainland China. In 1995, she won a United Daily News Best Novel award for Fusang, an historical novel set in nineteenth-century San Francisco's Chinatown. The titular figure, Fusang, is abducted from a village in Guangzhou (Canton), brought to the U.S. on a cargo ship, and sold into a Chinatown brothel. As a Chinatown prostitute, Fusang draws pleasure from all of her sexual encounters without becoming attached to any one of her johns. Presented as an enigma, Fusang solicits competing interpretations.
Causes Geling Yan Supports
Causes related to relief for former "comfort women," i.e., those women and girls forced to serve as prostitutes for the Japanese military during the Sino-...