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Ha Jin

Ha Jin

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Jīn Xuěfēi is a contemporary Chinese-American writer
Writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

 and novelist
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 using the pen name Ha Jin (哈金). Ha comes from his favorite city, Harbin
Harbin
Harbin ; Manchu language: , Harbin; Russian: Харби́н Kharbin ), is the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China, lying on the southern bank of the Songhua River...

.

Early life


Ha Jin was born in Liaoning
Liaoning
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the northeast of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "辽" , a name taken from the Liao River that flows through the province. "Níng" means "peace"...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. His father was a military officer; at thirteen, Jin joined the People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

 during the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

. Jin began to educate himself in Chinese literature and high school curriculum at sixteen. He left the army when he was nineteen, as he entered Heilongjiang University
Heilongjiang University
Heilongjiang University is a multi-disciplinary university in the city of Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, People's Republic of China.Heilongjiang University was founded in March 1941, in the base of China's communist revolution, Yan'an...

 and earned a bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 in English studies. This was followed by a master's degree
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

 in Anglo-American literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

 at Shandong University
Shandong University
Shandong University is a public comprehensive university in Shandong, China. It is one of the largest universities in China by student population and is supported directly by the national government....

.

Jin grew up in the chaos of early communist China. He was on a scholarship at Brandeis University
Brandeis University
Brandeis University is an American private research university with a liberal arts focus. It is located in the southwestern corner of Waltham, Massachusetts, nine miles west of Boston. The University has an enrollment of approximately 3,200 undergraduate and 2,100 graduate students. In 2011, it...

 when the 1989 Tiananmen incident
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese , were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the People's Republic of China beginning on 15 April 1989...

 occurred. The Chinese government's forcible put-down hastened his decision to emigrate
Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

 to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and was the cause of his choice to write in English "to preserve the integrity of his work." He eventually obtained a Ph.D.
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

.

Career


Jin sets many of his stories and novels in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, in the fictional Muji City. He has won the National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 and the PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel, Waiting
Waiting (novel)
Waiting is a novel by award-winning author Ha Jin. The book is based on a true story that Jin heard from his wife when they were visiting her family at an army hospital in China. At the hospital was an army doctor who had waited eighteen years to get a divorce so he could marry his longtime friend,...

(1999). He has received three Pushcart Prize
Pushcart Prize
The Pushcart Prize is an American literary prize by Pushcart Press that honors the best "poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot" published in the small presses over the previous year. Magazine and small book press editors are invited to nominate up to 6 works they have featured....

s for fiction and a Kenyon Review Prize. Many of his short stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories anthologies. His collection Under The Red Flag (1997) won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction
Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction
The Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction is an annual prize awarded by the University of Georgia Press named in honor of the American short story writer and novelist Flannery O'Connor....

, while Ocean of Words (1996) has been awarded the PEN/Hemingway Award. The novel War Trash
War Trash
War Trash is a novel by the Chinese author Ha Jin, who has long lived in the United States and who writes in English. It takes the form of a memoir written by the fictional character Yu Yuan, a man who eventually becomes a soldier in the Chinese People's Volunteer Army and who is sent to Korea to...

(2004), set during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, won a second PEN/Faulkner Award for Jin, thus ranking him with Philip Roth
Philip Roth
Philip Milton Roth is an American novelist. He gained fame with the 1959 novella Goodbye, Columbus, an irreverent and humorous portrait of Jewish-American life that earned him a National Book Award...

 and John Edgar Wideman
John Edgar Wideman
John Edgar Wideman is an American writer, professor at Brown University, and sits on the contributing editorial board of the literary journal Conjunctions.-Early life:...

, who are the only other authors to have won the prize twice. War Trash
War Trash
War Trash is a novel by the Chinese author Ha Jin, who has long lived in the United States and who writes in English. It takes the form of a memoir written by the fictional character Yu Yuan, a man who eventually becomes a soldier in the Chinese People's Volunteer Army and who is sent to Korea to...

was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

.

Jin currently teaches at Boston University
Boston University
Boston University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 4,000 faculty members and more than 31,000 students, Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of Boston's largest employers...

 in Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

. He formerly taught at Emory University
Emory University
Emory University is a private research university in metropolitan Atlanta, located in the Druid Hills section of unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, United States. The university was founded as Emory College in 1836 in Oxford, Georgia by a small group of Methodists and was named in honor of...

 in Atlanta, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

.

Jin was a Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow for Fiction at the American Academy in Berlin
American Academy in Berlin
The American Academy in Berlin is a research and cultural institution in Berlin whose stated mission is to foster a greater understanding and dialogue between the people of the United States and the people of Germany.The American Academy was founded in September 1994 by a group of prominent...

, Germany, in the fall of 2008.

Awards and honors

  • Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction
    Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction
    The Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction is an annual prize awarded by the University of Georgia Press named in honor of the American short story writer and novelist Flannery O'Connor....

     (1996)
  • Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award
    Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award
    The Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award is awarded annually to a novel or book of short stories by an American author who has not previously published a book of fiction. The award is named after Ernest Hemingway and funded by the Ernest Hemingway Foundation, which has been administered by the Hemingway...

     (1997)
  • Guggenheim Fellowship
    Guggenheim Fellowship
    Guggenheim Fellowships are American grants that have been awarded annually since 1925 by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to those "who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts." Each year, the foundation makes...

     (1999)
  • National Book Award
    National Book Award
    The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

     (1999)
  • PEN/Faulkner Award (2000)
  • Asian Fellowship (2000–2002)
  • Townsend Prize for Fiction (2002)
  • PEN/Faulkner Award
    PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
    The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is awarded annually by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to the authors of the year's best works of fiction by living American citizens. The winner receives US $15,000 and each of four runners-up receives US $5000. The foundation brings the winner and runners-up to...

     (2005)
  • Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

     (2006)

Poetry

  • Between Silences (1990)
  • Facing Shadows (1996)
  • Wreckage (2001)
  • Ways of Talking (1996)
  • The Past

Short story collections

  • Ocean of Words
    Ocean of Words
    Ocean of Words is a short story collection by Ha Jin. It received the 1997 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award....

    (1996)
  • Under the Red Flag (1997)
  • The Bridegroom
    The Bridegroom (short story collection)
    The Bridegroom is a collection of twelve short stories by Chinese-American author Ha Jin. The stories are set in Muji City in contemporary China, the same provincial city that served as the setting for his 1999 novel, Waiting. Three of the stories have been included in The Best American Short...

    (2000)
  • A Good Fall (2009)

Novels

  • In the Pond
    In the Pond
    In the Pond is a 1998 novel by Ha Jin, who has also written Under the Red Flag, Ocean of Words, and Waiting. He has been praised for his works relating to Chinese life and culture....

    (1998)
  • Waiting
    Waiting (novel)
    Waiting is a novel by award-winning author Ha Jin. The book is based on a true story that Jin heard from his wife when they were visiting her family at an army hospital in China. At the hospital was an army doctor who had waited eighteen years to get a divorce so he could marry his longtime friend,...

    (1999)
  • The Crazed (2002)
  • War Trash
    War Trash
    War Trash is a novel by the Chinese author Ha Jin, who has long lived in the United States and who writes in English. It takes the form of a memoir written by the fictional character Yu Yuan, a man who eventually becomes a soldier in the Chinese People's Volunteer Army and who is sent to Korea to...

    (2004)
  • A Free Life (2007)
  • Nanking Requiem (2011)

External links