Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Anchee Min  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Born: Shanghai, China


-- Anchee Min on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=anchee+min


Illinois Connection

Anchee Min hasmoved to Chicago when she came to America in 1984.

Biographical and Professional Information

Min was sent to a labor camp at age 17, where she was discovered by talent scouts. She worked as an actress at the Shanghai Film Studio and went to the United States in 1984 with the help of actress Joan Chen. Once here she worked as a waitress, messenger, gallery attendant, and construction worker, and also attended the School of the Art Institute.Min is a painter, photographer, musician, and author who lives in San Francisco and Shanghai.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Red Azalea
ISBN: 1400096987

Anchor. 2006

A revelatory and disturbing portrait of China, this is Anchee Min’s celebrated memoir of growing up in the last years of Mao’s China. As a child, Min was asked to publicly humiliate a teacher

at seventeen, she was sent to work at a labor collective. Forbidden to speak, dress, read, write, or love as she pleased, she found a lifeline in a secret love affair with another woman. Miraculously selected for the film version of one of Madame Mao’s political operas, Min’s life changed overnight. Then Chairman Mao suddenly died, taking with him an entire world. This national bestseller and New York Times Notable Book is exceptional for its candor, its poignancy, its courage, and for its prose which Newsweek calls "as delicate and evocative as a traditional Chinese brush painting."

Katherine
ISBN: 0425180239

Berkley. 2001

This novel, described by the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review as "nothing short of miraculous," is the story of Zebra Wong, a Chinese girl whose pragmatic mind conflicts with her passionate heart

Lion Head, her classmate, whose penchant for romantic intrigue belies his political ambitions, and Katherine, the seductive American with the red lipstick and the wild laugh who teaches them English and other foreign concepts: individualism, sensuality, the Beatles. In Katherine's classroom, repression and rebellion meet head-on-and the consequences are both tragic and liberating.

Becoming Madame Mao
ISBN: 0749005025

Allison & Busby. 2001

This is an evocation of the woman who married Chairman Mao and fought to succeed him. The unwanted daughter of a concubine, she refused to have her feet bound, ran away to join an opera troupe and eventually met Mao Zedong in the mountains of Yenan.

Wild Ginger
ISBN: 1417717343

San Val. 2004

The beautiful, iron-willed Wild Ginger is only in elementary school when we first meet her, but already she has been singled out by the Red Guards for her "foreign-colored eyes." Her classmate Maple is also a target of persecution. It is through the quieter, more skeptical Maple, a less than ardent Maoist whose father is languishing in prison for a minor crime, that we see this story to its tragic end.
The Red Guards have branded Wild Ginger's deceased father a traitor and eventually drive her mother to a gruesome suicide, but she fervently embraces Maoism to save her spirit. She rises quickly through the ranks and is held up as a national model for Maoism. Wild Ginger now has everything, even a young man who vies for her heart. But Mao's prohibition on romantic love places her in an untenable position. Into this sexually charged situation steps Maple, creating an uneasy triangle that Min has portrayed with keen pychological insight and her characteristic gift for lyrical eroticism.
In Anchee Min's previous three books she returned again and again to the devastating experience of the Cultural Revolution, which defined her youth. Here, in this slim but powerful novel, she gives us a moving story that goes closer to the core of that experience than anything she has written before, and brilliantly delineates the pychological and sexual perversion of those times. Ultimately, WILD GINGER has the clean lines of a parable, the poignancy of a coming-of-age novel, the sexiness of a French blue movie, and the sadness of a truly tragic love story.

Empress Orchid
ISBN: 0618562036

Mariner Books. 2005

From a master of the historical novel, Empress Orchid sweeps readers into the heart of the Forbidden City to tell the fascinating story of a young concubine who becomes China’s last empress. Min introduces the beautiful Tzu Hsi, known as Orchid, and weaves an epic of a country girl who seized power through seduction, murder, and endless intrigue. When China is threatened by enemies, she alone seems capable of holding the country together.
In this “absorbing companion piece to her novel Becoming Madame Mao” (New York Times), readers and reading groups will once again be transported by Min’s lavish evocation of the Forbidden City in its last days of imperial glory and by her brilliant portrait of a flawed yet utterly compelling woman who survived, and ultimately dominated, a male world.

The Last Empress
ISBN: 0747593167

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. 2008

The last decades of the nineteenth century were a violent period in China’s history, marked by humiliating foreign incursions and domestic rebellions and ending in the demise of the Ch’ing Dynasty. The only constant during this tumultuous time was the power wielded by one woman, the resilient, ever-resourceful Tsu Hsi -- or Empress Orchid, as readers came to know her in Anchee Min’s critically acclaimed, best-selling novel covering her rise to power.

The Last Empress is the story of Orchid’s dramatic transition from a strong-willed, instinctive young woman to a wise and politically savvy leader who ruled China for more than four decades. In this concluding volume Min gives us a compelling, very human leader who assumed power reluctantly and sacrificed all to protect those she loved and an empire that was doomed to die.

Pearl of China: A Novel
ISBN: 1596916974

Bloomsbury USA. 2010

It is the end of the nineteenth century and China is riding on the crest of great change, but for nine-year-old Willow, the only child of a destitute family in the small southern town of Chin-kiang, nothing ever seems to change. Until the day she meets Pearl, the eldest daughter of a zealous American missionary.
Pearl is head-strong, independent and fiercely intelligent, and will grow up to be Pearl S Buck, the Pulitzer- and Nobel Prize-winning writer and humanitarian activist, but for now all Willow knows is that she has never met anyone like her in all her life. From the start the two are thick as thieves, but when the Boxer Rebellion rocks the nation, Pearl's family is forced to leave China to flee religious persecution. As the twentieth century unfolds in all its turmoil, through right-wing military coups and Mao's Red Revolution, through bad marriages and broken dreams, the two girls cling to their lifelong friendship across the sea.

In this ambitious and moving new novel, Anchee Min, acclaimed author of Empress Orchid and Red Azalea, brings to life a courageous and passionate woman who loved the country of her childhood and who has been hailed in China as a modern heroine.


Awards

Carl Sandburg Literary Award, 1993, for Red Azalea

Availability for Public Speaking

Speaking Engagement Availability: (No)