Great Asian-Pacific American Authors: Amy Tan, Jhumpa Lahiri, and More

Great Asian-Pacific American Authors: Amy Tan, Jhumpa Lahiri, and More


Elizabeth Rowe

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage month in the U.S., and, to honor the occasion, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite (but by no means all of our favorite) authors of Asian-Pacific heritage who celebrate their cultures in their writing. From classics such as Yoko Kawashima Watkins’ So Far From the Bamboo Grove to newer works, such as Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement, these books written by Asian-Pacific American authors showcase varied and insightful perspectives on identity and American life…

Lisa See

Don’t be fooled by her strawberry-blond locks and freckles: Lisa See is part Chinese (she has a Chinese great-grandfather) and grew up with a large Chinese-American extended family. In 2001, she was named National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women. Of her cultural background, See writes: “In many ways I straddle two cultures. I try to bring what I know from both [Chinese and American] cultures into my work. The American side of me tries to open a window into China and things Chinese for non-Chinese, while the Chinese side of me makes sure that what I’m writing is true to the Chinese culture without it seeming too ‘exotic’ or ‘foreign.’” In her most recent book, China Dolls, See takes on the Japanese internment in the United States during World War II, as well as the larger issue of racial passing

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