Ha Jin


Professor of English

BA, Heilongjiang University
MA, Shandong University
MA, PhD, Brandeis University

Room 221

A graduate of the Creative Writing Program, Ha Jin returned to Boston University in September of 2002 as a full professor. Born in China in 1956, Xuefei Jin (Ha Jin is his pen name) was a teenager when China entered the Cultural Revolution. He became a member of the People’s Liberation Army at the age of fourteen. His novel Waiting, which won him the National Book Award in 1999, and the PEN/ Faulkner in 2000, was based on his experiences during his five-year service in the Red Army. He was awarded the PEN/ Faulkner again in 2005 for War Trash. To date, he has published nine novels, four collections of short stories, four volumes of poetry, a book of essays, and a biography of Li Bai.  His most recent book is A Song Everlasting (2021). His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. 

Ha Jin earned his Master’s degree at Shandong University in China, and in 1986 came to the United States to begin his doctoral work at Brandeis. He was accepted into Boston University’s Creative Writing Program in 1991 and completed his studies in 1993. Though a native of China, he has done his writing in English. 

In addition to the National Book award, Ha Jin received the Pen/Hemingway award for his first collection of short stories,Ocean of Words(1996), the Flannery O’Connor prize for his second, Under the Red Flag (1997)the Asian American Literary Award for his story collection The Bridegroom (2000), the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award for A Distant Center (poetry, 2019), and the Bucheon Diaspora Literary Award (2021) for A Free Life (2007).    

In 2005 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was also elected a member of American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2014. Before returning to Boston University, Jin had taught poetry, fiction writing, and English Literature at Emory University. 

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