Born in the United States to immigrant parents from China, Tan settled on writing fiction instead of pursuing her mother’s wish that she become a doctor or concert pianist. Her novels are The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, and most recently, Saving Fish from Drowning. All were New York Times bestsellers and the recipients of various awards. 

Tan also is the author of a memoir (The Opposite of Fate), two children’s books (The Moon Lady and Sagwa), and numerous articles for magazines including The New Yorker, Harper’s Bazaar and National Geographic. Her work has been translated into 35 languages, from Spanish, French and Finnish to Chinese, Arabic and Hebrew. Tan served as co-producer and co-screenwriter with Ron Bass for the film adaptation of The Joy Luck Club, which also has been selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its 2007 “Big Read” program. She was the creative consultant for “Sagwa,” the Emmy-nominated television series for children, which has aired worldwide. Her story in The New Yorker, “Immortal Heart,” was performed on stages throughout the United States and in France. Her essays and stories are found in hundreds of anthologies and textbooks, and they are assigned as required reading in many high schools and universities. She has even appeared as herself in the animated series “The Simpsons.” Tan lectures internationally and also serves as the literary editor for the Los Angeles Times magazine, West. Her current work includes writing a new novel and creating, with Stewart Wallace as composer, the libretto for The Bonesetter’s Daughter, which premieres in September 2008 with the San Francisco Opera. Tan’s other musical work for the stage is limited to serving as lead rhythm dominatrix, backup singer and second tambourine with the literary garage band the Rock Bottom Remainders, whose members include Stephen King, Dave Barry and Scott Turow. While the group plays mainly for fun, their annual gigs have managed to raise over a million dollars for literacy programs. Tan also is concerned about animal welfare, and she wrote the foreword to the 2006 book Tails of Devotion: A Look at the Bond Between People and Their Pets by Emily Scott Pottruck. Tan’s appearance at Southwestern is free, but tickets are required. Tickets for Southwestern faculty, staff and students will be available beginning Monday, Sept. 24 and tickets for the public will be available beginning Tuesday, Oct. 9. To request tickets, call 512-863-1561, e-mail, or fill out the online ticket request form at Previous guests in the Writer’s Voice Series have been Joyce Carol Oates, Russell Banks, Margaret Atwood, Michael Chabon, Carlos Fuentes and Robert Pinsky.


Related News & Events