William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor

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My teaching consists of two parts: fiction writing and migrant literature. In fiction writing, I mainly teach the longer form, usually a novella workshop for graduate students. More than half the students in the workshop actually write novels. This is encouraged because we hope that our students will know how to write novels after graduation. In my migrant literature class, we read eleven or twelve novels, some poems, and essays. Although we discuss major issues at length, we pay a great deal of attention to the structures of novels and to fiction techniques. The course is also meant to give the students, some of whom are fiction writers, a solid grasp of the basic forms of the novel, so we examine how the books were made.

My research is focused on fiction writing in recent years. I write both short fiction and novels. At present I am working on a novel about a Hong Kong immigrant’s story.

Selected Publications

  • A Song Everlasting (2021)
  • The Banished Immortal: a Life of Li Bai (2019)
  • A Distant Center (2018)
  • The Boat Rocker (2016)
  • A Map of Betrayal (2015)
  • Nanjing Requiem (2010)
  • The Writer as Migrant, a collection of essays (2008)
  • A Good Fall, a collection of short stories (2009)
  • A Free Life (2007)
  • War Trash (2004)
  • The Crazed (2002)
  • Wreckage (2001)
  • The Bridegroom (2000)
  • Waiting (1999)
  •  In the Pond (1998)
  •  Under the Red Flag (1997)
  • Ocean of Words (1996)
  • Facing Shadows (1996)
  • Between Silences (1990)

Honors, Grants, and Awards

  • The Bucheon Diaspora Literary Award (2021) for A Free Life
  • PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award for A Distant Center (2019)
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2014)
  • Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2006)
  • PEN/Faulkner Award (2005)
  • Townsend Prize for Fiction (2002)
  • Asian American Literary Award (2001)
  • Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fellowship (2000–2002)
  • PEN/Faulkner Award (2000)
  • Guggenheim Fellowship (1999)
  • National Book Award (1999)
  • PEN/Hemingway Award (1997)
  • Flannery O’Connor Prize for Short Fiction (1996)