Ha Jin

National Book Award-winning novelist, international bestseller, and two-time winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

  • About Ha Jin

    Ha Jin is an award-winning, internationally bestselling author of six novels and numerous collections of short stories and poetry. Born in mainland China, Ha Jin grew up in a small rural town in Liaoning Province. From age fourteen to nineteen he volunteered to serve in the People’s Liberation Army, serving on the northeastern border between China and the former Soviet Union. He began teaching himself middle and high school courses in his third year in the army. In 1977 he was able to attend college, and went to Heilongjiang University in Harbin. He received a B.A. in English in 1981. He then studied American literature at Shandong University, where he received an M.A. in 1984. The following year he came to the United States for graduate studies at Brandeis University, from which he earned a Ph.D. in English in 1993. In the meantime, he studied fiction writing at Boston University with the novelists Leslie Epstein and Aharon Appelfeld. After the Tiananmen massacre (1989), he realized it would be impossible to write honestly in China, so he decided to remain in the U.S. Unlike most exiled writers already established in their native language, Ha Jin had no audience in Chinese, and so chose to write in English. To him, this meant much labor, some despair, but also, freedom.

    Currently he is a professor of English at Boston University. He has published two volumes of poetry and three books of short fiction, Ocean of Words, which received the PEN Hemingway Award, Under the Red Flag, and The Bridegroom. His short stories have been included in The Best American Short Stories (1997 and 1999), three Pushcart Prize anthologies, and the Norton Introduction to Fiction and the Norton Introduction to Literature, among other anthologies.

    Waiting, Ha Jin’s first full-length novel, was an international bestseller and winner of the 1999 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2000 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for fiction. His fourth novel, War Trash, set during the Korean War, won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (2005). Ha Jin’s story collections, too, have won notable prizes, with Under the Red Flag awarded the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and Ocean of Words the PEN/Hemingway Award. His latest novel, Nanjing Requiem, follows Minnie Vautrin, an American missionary and the dean of Jinling Women’s College during the 1937 Japanese invasion of Nanjing.

  • Speaking Topics

    A Free Life

  • Books by Ha Jin

  • Media About Ha Jin

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  • 212 572-2013
  • Ha Jin travels from Boston, MA

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