Women's Activism NYC

Amy Tan

1952 - Today

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Amy Tan is an award winning, bestselling American author.She also co-founded co-founded LymeAid 4 Kids, which helps uninsured children pay for treatment of Lyme Disease. Born in the U.S. to immigrant parents from China, Amy Tan grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in a succession of twelve homes by the time she graduated from high school. At age 15, she lost her older brother and father to brain tumors. After this tragedy, her mother, fearing a curse, impulsively took Amy and her younger brother to Europe to see the world. Amy attended five colleges: Linfield College, San Jose City College, San Jose State University, University of California at Santa Cruz, and University of California at Berkeley. She received her B.A. with a double major in English and Linguistics, followed by her M.A. in Linguistics. She worked as a language development specialist for county-wide programs serving developmentally disabled children, birth to five, and later became director for a demonstration project funded by the U.S. Department of Education to mainstream multicultural children with developmental disabilities into early childhood programs. In 1983, she became a freelance business writer, working with telecommunications companies, including IBM and AT&T. In 1985, Amy began writing fiction as an incentive to cut back on her heavy freelance workload. Her first story was published in 1986 in a small literary magazine, FM Five, which was then reprinted in Seventeen and Grazia. Literary AgentSandy Dijkstra read her early work and offered to serve as her agent, even though Amy asserted she had no plans to pursue a fiction writing career. In 1987, Amy went to China for the first time, accompanied by her mother. When she returned home, she learned that she had received three offers for a book of short stories, of which only three had been written. The resulting book, The Joy Luck Club, consists of sixteen related stories about the experiences of four Chinese American mother-daughter pairs and was hailed as a novel and became a surprise bestseller, spending over forty weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. Tan's second novel, The Kitchen God's Wife, also focuses on the relationship between an immigrant Chinese mother and her American-born daughter. Tan's third novel, The Hundred Secret Senses, was a departure from the first two novels, in focusing on the relationships between sisters. Tan's fourth novel, The Bonesetter's Daughter, returns to the theme of an immigrant Chinese woman and her American-born daughter. Tan has written seven novels Tan's work has been adapted into several different forms of media. The Joy Luck Club was adapted into a play in 1993; that same year, director Wayne Wang adapted the book into a film. The Bonesetter's Daughter was adapted into an opera in 2008.Tan's children's book Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat was adapted into a PBS animated television show. She has also written a memoir in 1027 titled, Where the Past Begins.

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